In 2006, opium production had almost been eradicated in Burma but for seven straight years, the crop has made a comeback.
Heroin-producing opium poppy is now seen covering valley after valley.
The UN is trying to focus attention on the region and thinking of ways to get the farmers there to switch from opium to other crops, such as coffee. But that’s easier said than done.
The opium fields we see in the video above are in a rebel held area of Shan state. Poppy cultivation is used to escape poverty and fund their fight for freedom against Burma’s government.
Until peace is secured it’s very difficult to solve the issue of poppy cultivation in the Golden Triangle.
The farmers say they know that the drug is harmful but that if they were to grow other crops they would not have enough to eat. The UN is sending experts to help convince farmers to become “partners” in coffee-growing enterprises to help them break from poppy cultivation.
But even the farmers who have been convinced say that they will continue to grow poppy on the side until they see the profits from coffee.
See the wonderfully filmed video above for more on this issue.
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