As Radio Free Asia reported on 26 January 2023, the United Nations has found that opium production in Myanmar almost doubled since the military coup on 1 February 2021.
World Watch Research analyst Thomas Muller explains: “It is not uncommon in war zones and in uncertain economic times that drug production increases. Very similar reporting exists for example on Afghanistan (Opium cultivation up by one third since the Taliban took over power in August 2021, Asia News, 3 November 2022). It should, however, be noted that the country’s rulers and warring parties benefit from drug production, transportation and sales, at least in part. At the same time, these lawless zones are also hotspots for human trafficking and organized crime, as a report from USIP from 9 November 2022 found. This has wider consequences, not only for other Asian countries, but also worldwide. As these zones are mainly found in the remote and border regions of Myanmar, Christian minorities living in these regions are affected by them as well. Due to the lawless situation, Christians are not only hard-pressed by a government relentlessly attacking everyone it assumes to be connected to the opposition, but also by groups benefitting from organized crime.”