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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
03RANGOON707 2003-06-16 08:45:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Rangoon
Cable title:  

BURMA'S OPIUM FIELDS -- GOING, GOING, ....

Tags:   SNAR KCRM PINS BM 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 RANGOON 000707 

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP AND INL
DEA FOR OF, OFF
CDR USPACOM FOR FPA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/16/2013
TAGS: SNAR KCRM PINS BM
SUBJECT: BURMA'S OPIUM FIELDS -- GOING, GOING, ....

REF: RANGOON 575

Classified By: COM Carmen Martinez. Reason: 1.5 (d).



1. (C) Summary: According to information presented by UNODC's
Resident Representative, Burma eliminated approximately
one-quarter of its opium fields in 2003. According to
UNODC's latest survey, the acreage under opium cultivation in
Burma in 2003 totaled only 62,100 hectares, down 24 percent
from 2002. The reduction, according to UNODC, was equivalent
to the entire current crop in Laos. End Summary.

Acreage under Cultivation



2. (C) UNODC will release its worldwide opium survey in New
York next week. In a pre-brief on June 13, UNODC's Resident
Representative told the Chief of Mission that opium
cultivation in Burma had again declined radically. According
to UNODC's survey, the acreage under opium cultivation in
Burma in 2003 totaled only 62,100 hectares, down 24 percent
from 2002 and more than 60 percent from the 163,000 hectares
planted in Burma in 1996. The Resident Representative noted
that the reduction in acreage under cultivation in Burma in
2003 was equivalent to Laos' entire current crop.



3. (C) According to UNODC's numbers, the reduction was
sharpest in northern Shan State, where acreage under opium
cultivation was down 45 percent. In eastern Shan state, the
reduction was 26 percent; in southern Shan State 19 percent.
Only in the Wa territories did acreage under cultivation
increase. While the acreage under opium cultivation was down
in the Wa Alternative Development Project area around Mong
Yang and Mong Pawk (by about 12 percent), in the Wa
territories as a whole, acreage under cultivation was up 21
percent to 21,300 hectares (i.e., about one-third of Burma's
total production.)

Yield/Hectare



4. (C) Largely offsetting the decline in acreage, however,
was a sharp increase in yield, thanks to excellent weather.
According to UNODC, the yield/hectare throughout Burma was up
about 27 percent from 10.2 kilograms per hectare to 12.9
kilograms per hectare. As with acreage under cultivation,
yields were also highest in the Wa territories at about 16.1
kilograms per hectare.

Production



5. (C) Overall production, finally, came in at about par with
2002, as increased yields per hectare approximately offset
the decline in acreage under cultivation. According to
UNODC's numbers, Burma produced about 810 metric tons of
opium in 2003, down only marginally from the 828 metric tons
UNODC estimated in 2002.

Comment



6. (C) A couple of points stand out from UNODC's survey.
First, the weather for opium production was excellent for
opium production in Burma in 2003. There was no drought.
Yet acreage under production declined radically, most
logically as a result of government efforts.



7. (C) Secondly, in 2003, the government held the cease-fire
groups to their pledges regarding opium. In fact the largest
declines in 2003 took place in territories controlled by the
Peng Kya Shin's Kokang Chinese, which had pledged to be out
of opium production by 2000, and then reneged. In 2003,
thanks to Burmese government pressure, the acreage under
cultivation in the Kokang Chinese capital district of Lawkai
was cut to barely 20 percent of its 2002 level.



8. (C) Finally, in 2005 the government will get another
opportunity to show if it is really ready to take on the the
ceasefire groups. As matters now stand, 2005 is to be the
last year of opium production in the Wa territories. End
Comment.
Martinez