Myanmar now produces 25% of the world’s opium. This makes it the second largest producer behind Afghanistan. The United Nations says that opium production has risen in Myanmar this year because farmers lack alternatives for making a living, and because of the strong regional demand for opium.
When farmers are faced with food insecurity and poverty, they need sustainable alternatives to growing poppies for opium. There needs to be investment in helping people find other crops, however finding something with the cash value of opium is hard to do.
While limited information is available from within Myanmar, what can be found suggests that it is the poorest country in South east Asia, and that some 26% of the population live below the poverty line.
The tight political system has limited development, and limited even further those who benefit from progress in the country. Tribal and ethnic divisions in the country further exacerbate the challenges for those who are marginalized.
While farmers are condemned for producing opium, the insecurities of their lives push them to seek any means for survival. Pray for creative resource development work that is wholistic, bringing good news into every sector of the lives of the rural poor in Myanmar. Pray for relief in God’s mercy from the pressures of an unjust political system that weighs heavily on development within the country.