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

  • David Clapp / Getty

    New Mexico: Images of the Land of Enchantment

    A few glimpses of New Mexico’s landscape, and some of the animals and people calling it home

  • Mahmud Hams / AFP / Getty

    Photos of the Week: Pride Lights, Paddy Day, Grizzly Swim

    A new waterslide in the Czech Republic, a cat on the Algerian waterfront, a grotto reopening in Italy, burying a coronavirus victim in Russia, a wildfire in Colorado, and much more

  • Steve Helber / AP

    The Statues Brought Down Since the George Floyd Protests Began

    Images of some of the dozens of statues that have been toppled, defaced, or slated for removal across the U.S. over the past month

  • Shahid Ali / AFP / Getty

    Photos: The Locust Swarms of 2020

    Images from hard-hit areas in Kenya, Pakistan, India, Nepal, and Yemen, taken over recent months