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Illegal trade takes a heavy toll on country’s economy

Smuggling and illegal trade continue to be a major problems for the country’s economy, says the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI). According to the Business Sentiment Survey issued by UMFCCI in May, illegal trade stands at sixth among the top 10 issues hampering the country’s economy. The survey was […]

Southern Shan co-op exports $35,000 worth of coffee to Europe

A Shan-based co-operative involving almost a thousand local farmers has exported its first container of coffee worth US$35,000 to Europe. The Green Gold cooperative (co-op) exported its first container of select coffee to the European market on Friday. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said the export represents a positive development in […]

Anti-corruption drive dodges political donations and criminal liability

Nay Pyi Taw has stepped up its efforts to curb corruption by empowering the anti-graft body and reaching out to the private sector. Yet, the announcement from the Directorate of Investment and Companies Administration (DICA) has created confusion among businesses. Crucially, there are still no criminal liability for offering bribes and no effective regulations on […]

Myanmar hills embrace silkworms over poppies

TANGYAN, Myanmar (Reuters) – Zhou Xing Ci’s family have farmed poppies for as long as anyone remembers, scraping the flowers’ sticky brown sap to produce opium. Along with many other farmers in the hills of eastern Myanmar, the crop – much of which ends up as heroin sold on foreign streets – has in recent […]

What Next for Myanmar’s New Anti-Drug Strategy?

Though a new policy signals a shift to a more comprehensive approach to the problem, the true test will be in its implementation. On February 20, Myanmar, one of the world’s largest drug-producing countries, finally launched a new national drug control policy after years of deliberations. Though the document does signal a shift to a […]

French Firm Helps Shan Farmers Turn Poppy to Coffee

NAYPYITAW — A coffee growers cooperative in Shan State and a French roasting company signed a memorandum of understanding on Thursday in Naypyitaw that pledges the roaster to buy from the farmers for five years in a bid to combat opium cultivation in the region. “We’ll pay higher than the market prices. We’ll buy coffee […]

Myanmar struggles to fight the crimes of illegal logging

• Illegal logging uses the same mechanisms employed by organized crime, yet enforcement agents in Myanmar must use environmental protection laws to combat smuggling. • During a series of seizures in January of this year, the forestry department seized hundreds of tons of illegally logged teak bound for China. • One of the key witnesses […]

Indian cold pills pour over remote border to fuel Myanmar narcotics boom

Five years ago, when cold pills first trickled across Myanmar’s untamed border with India, many local officials were baffled. Where was this medicine going, and why were smugglers so interested in it? Today, the cross-border trickle has become a torrent and everyone knows why the Indian-made pills are so valuable: they are bound for secret laboratories in […]

Mekong states band together to tackle drug scourge

MEKONG RIVER • The Lao People’s Army patrol boat was custom- made in China with night-vision capability and two of the most powerful engines on a remote stretch of the Mekong River. Today, like most days, it sits idle for lack of petrol, guarded by a single Laotian soldier in flip-flops. Even occasional patrols by […]

Can Coffee Replace Opium in Southern Shan State?

In the hills in southern Shan State surrounding Taunggyi, in Myanmar, up a tangle of roads barely passable in a Hilux, deep into an ocean of opium poppy fields barely clinging to the hillside, a few islands of other crops have sprung up. They are most prominently coffee and rubber – all part of a […]