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Myanmar's opium cultivation up 13 per cent, UN says

The area of Myanmar under opium poppy cultivation increased 13 per cent this year compared to 2012 to reach 57,800 hectares, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said Wednesday.

"The best estimate for 2013 opium production in Myanmar alone is some 870 tons," said Yury Fedotov, UNODC executive director, in its annual update on opium production in the Golden Triangle - the area where the borders of Laos, Myanmar and Thailand meet.

Last year, Myanmar produced an estimated 690 tons of opium, compared with 41 tons in Laos and 3 tons in Thailand.

"This year’s South-East Asia Opium Survey shows that despite eradication efforts, opium poppy cultivation in the region continues to increase," Fedotov said.

Myanmar was the world’s largest source of opium and its derivative heroin in the early 1990s but is now ranked second after Afghanistan.

After significant decreases in opium cultivation in the region between 1998 and 2005, when UNODC and local governments initiated crop-substitution and eradication programmes with some initial successes, cultivation of the crop has increased annually since 2006, the report said.//DPA

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