Myanmar's War on Opium

As Myanmar emerges from a half-century of isolation under a dictatorship, President Thein Sein's new civilian government has launched a series of reforms. At the top of the list is the eradication of widespread opium poppy farming. Myanmar produced an estimated 610 tons of opium in 2011, making it the world's second-biggest supplier after Afghanistan, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. In an unusually open gesture, Myanmar officials allowed a Reuters reporter and photographer to visit former conflict areas, hoping they will examine the campaign and help shed Myanmar's image as one of the world's top drug producers. But the eradication process threatens the livelihoods of poor farmers who depend upon opium as a cash crop. With those concerns in mind, and with recent ceasefires ending years of conflict between the government and ethnic insurgents, Myanmar police and United Nations officials are traveling through the countryside to ask farmers what assistance they need.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Fernando Vergara / AP

    Photos: Deadly Protests Across Colombia

    For several days now, people across the country have voiced their anger in large demonstrations.

  • Alexander Nemenov / AFP / Getty

    Photos of the Week: Desert Highway, Launch Symphony, Mermaid Show

    A life-sized Gundam statue in China, the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak in India, the world’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge in Portugal, a Lego New York City, and much more

  • NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center / SDO

    Scenes From Off-World

    A recent photo album of our solar system—a set of family portraits—as seen by our astronauts and mechanical emissaries

  • Dan Kitwood / Getty

    The Parakeets of London

    The Greater London area is home to thousands of parakeets, an invasive species that appears to be thriving in its new urban setting.