Japan extends more aid for Myanmar's drug control project
Yangon. Japan has extended 1.2 million US dollars more of aid for Myanmar's opium substitution project in Shan state's Wa region, implemented by the UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the local Myanmar Times reported in its latest issue.
Quoting a recent announcement of the UNODC and the Japanese government, the report said the contribution has brought the total amount extended by Japan for the Wa alternative development project to over 1.9 million dollars.
The UNODC started launching the 11.6-million-dollar five-year project In 1998, the largest of its kind so far implemented in Myanmar by the UN organization.
With additional funds of one million dollars and 100,000 dollars respectively contributed by Germany and Italy, the project is to be prolonged for two more years up to 2005, the statement said.
The UNODC's projects in Myanmar has helped bring about substantial reduction of poppy cultivated area and experiences have shown that alternative development along with law enforcement endeavors constitutes a vital part of the effective drug supply reduction strategy, the statement added.
According to the figures of the US Counter Narcotic Center, Myanmar's opium production dropped from about 2,365 tons in 1997 to 630 tons in 2002, while the country's opium poppy cultivated area reduced from 155,150 hectares to 77,700 hectares.
A UN report estimated that in 2002, Myanmar's opium poppy cultivated area was 81,400 hectares and the production was 828 tons.
Myanmar started implementing a 15-year drug elimination plan in 1999, covering 54 drug cultivating and producing townships.