Global opium poppy cultivation decreasing:UN

February 5th, 2009 - 3:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Vienna, Feb 5 (IANS) The global opium poppy production is falling, according to two reports released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), WAM news agency said Thursday.The South East Asia Opium Survey released in Bangkok Wednesday showed that the region, once notorious as the ‘Golden Triangle’ of heroin trade, has a limited opium problem at present and it was concentrated in just one region of Myanmar.

Southeast Asia accounts for 424 tonnes of opium production (down from 472 tonnes a year earlier). This is around five percent of the world’s total illicit opium production, down from 33 percent in 1998 and more than 50 percent in 1990, the report said.

Myanmar remains the world’s second biggest source of opium, accounting for 28,500 hectares under opium cultivation in 2008 (a three percent rise over last year). Cultivation was mostly limited to the Shan state, which accounts for 89 percent of the national total.

The Afghanistan Opium Winter Assessment, released in Kabul Feb 1, showed a likely reduction in the amount of opium grown in Afghanistan in 2009.

The 18 provinces that were opium-free in 2008 were projected to remain so in 2009, and seven other were likely to reduce cultivation including the biggest opium-producing province Helmand.

This was in accordance with the trend in the past few years that showed opium cultivation concentrated overwhelmingly in the seven most unstable provinces in the south and southwest. In 2008, Afghanistan accounted for 92 percent of the world’s opium production.

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