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Int J Drug Policy. 2011 Jul;22(4):278-84. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2011.02.001. Epub 2011 Mar 26.

Opium poppy monitoring with remote sensing in North Myanmar.

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Institute of Remote Sensing Applications, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Datun Road, Beijing, China.



Myanmar has long been a focus of the international community as a major opium poppy cultivation region.


This study used remote sensing technology and ground verification to monitor opium poppy cultivation for three opium poppy growth seasons in North Myanmar.


The study found that opium poppy cultivation has remained high. In 2005-6, 2006-7 and 2007-8 growing seasons the total areas monitored were 52,482 km(2), 178,274 km(2) and 236,342 km(2) and the total cultivated area of opium poppy was 8959 ha, 18,606 ha and 22,300, respectively. This was significantly less than cultivation levels reported during the 1990s. The major cultivation regions were located in Shan State, producing 88% of total poppy cultivation in North Myanmar in 2007-8. The opium poppy was mainly cultivated in the interlocking regions controlled by the local armed forces in Shan State. The field survey noted that most households in this area were poor and poppy cultivation was a main source of income. There were also differences between our figures on poppy cultivation and those reported by United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.


Our study shows that although the opium poppy cultivation in North Myanmar has reduced over recent years, it remains a major producer of opium and to which the international community needs to pay attention, especially in those areas controlled by local armed forces.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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