May 21 (Xinhuanet) -- The Myanmar government has started
launching a new
opium eradication seed exchange project, said a
available here Tuesday.
The new opium eradication project named
is designed to encourage the exchange of opium seeds
for alternative seeds including rice, wheat, maize and corn.
In the current pilot of the project, over 141 tons of opium
seeds have been turned in by the farmers in the country's northern
southern Shan state to the authorities in their respective
According to the statement, 141 tons of seeds
almost 60,000 acres (24,281.4 hectares) of land in poppy
that can generate about 263 tons of opium or 26 tons of pure
heroin with a U.S. "street value" of 1.1 billion U.S.
The statement added that the opium seeds will be
It quoted government spokesman
Colonel Hla Min as saying that
the idea behind the new opium eradication
project is to provide
incentives to turn in poppy seeds.
have been implementing ways and means to bring these
farmers out of poppy
cultivation in a more humanitarian way than
resorting to sending in troops
to destroy their sole livelihood,"
Hla Min said, adding that the method has
so far met with success.
The declaration of the launching of the
project came after
Colonel Kyaw Thein, a member of Myanmar's Central
Drug Abuse Control, met with high-level officials of the U.S.
State Department in Washington last week including Assistant
Rand Beers, who heads the Bureau for International
Narcotics and Law
Enforcement Affairs, and Deputy Assistant
Secretary of State Mathew
The meeting was the highest-level conversation between
and the United States since 1988 and the discussions covered
Myanmar's opium eradication strategy as well as how Myanmar can
into compliance with the U.S. narcotics control guidelines in
order to get
cooperation from the U.S. government. Enditem