Tuesday 22 January 2019
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Myanmar: Myanmar Opium Survey 2018 Cultivation, Production and Implications

Source: UN Office on Drugs and Crime Country: Lao People s Democratic Republic (the), Myanmar
Key findings In 2018, the area under opium poppy cultivation in Myanmar was estimated at 37,300 hectares. In comparison to 2017, the area under opium cultivation decreased, continuing the downward trend that started in 2014. In the two main producer states, Shan and Kachin, the area under opium poppy cultivation decreased by 12 per cent or 4,900 hectares from 41,000 hectares in 2017 to 36,100 hectares in 2018.1 In addition, in Chin and Kayah States together, an estimated 1,200 hectares of opium poppy were cultivated. Reductions have taken place in practically all regions, including North, East and South Shan with decreases of 7%, 8% and 17% respectively, and Kachin State with 15%. Chin and Kayah States were not surveyed in 2017. Compared to the latest year available, 2015, total opium poppy cultivation in these two states increased by 26% or by 250 hectares in 2018. The average opium yield remained rather stable at 13.9 kilograms per hectare, with a 4% increase compared to 2017. Potential opium production was estimated at 520 metric tons in 2018. Shan State, which supplied nearly 90% of the total, remained the main producing region with 461 mt which is a decrease of 8% compared to last year. Eradication ‐as reported by the Government‐ showed a similar trend to opium poppy cultivation over the last nine years, with increases from 2010 to 2012‐2014 and a decrease since 2015. The eradication numbers for the 2018 growing season (from September 2017 to March 2018) were 26% lower than for the same period in 2017. Opiate seizures have increased since 2015. For the period January to June 2018, almost 3,000 kilograms of seized opiates were reported, already surpassing the total reported seizures for 2017. With an estimated gross value ranging from 1.1 to 2.3 billion USD, the illegal opiate market in Myanmar represented a notable share of the country’s economy in 2018 (1.5 – 3.3 % of 2017 GDP). Of this total, about 5%, corresponding to an estimated amount of 62 to 103 million USD, or 0.4 % of the agricultural sector’s value, was earned by farmers cultivating opium.  The largest share of the 2018 opiate market value was income generated by heroin manufacturing and trafficking. Domestic heroin consumption of 7.6 tons was valued at 238 ‐ 401 million USD, whereas the export of heroin (20 ‐ 45 tons) was worth between 782 and 1,798 million USD Between 2015 and 2018, farm‐gate prices2 of fresh and dry opium decreased by 34 and 45 %, respectively. Decreasing prices together with a reduced supply of opium can be an indication of a decreased demand for opiates from Myanmar in the country and the region.

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