Authorities Destroy 153 Hectares of Opium Poppy Plantations in Luang Prabang

Authorities destroy opium fields in Luang Prabang.
Authorities destroy opium fields in Luang Prabang.

Authorities in Luang Prabang Province have destroyed over 153 hectares of opium poppy plantations.

According to a report by Lao Security News, police in Luang Prabang Province found and destroyed illegal opium farms covering up to 153 hectares earlier this month.

Authorities investigated 14 villages in Phonethong District, Luang Prabang Province, where 23 poppy cultivation sites were found.

Police said that one 42-hectare area could not be properly destroyed by police because the plants were still too young.  They have asked farm owners to destroy the young plants on their own.

Authorities said that the opium fields were very remote, requiring a 4-5 hour walk in order to reach them.

Opium farmers had already been issued warnings in 14 villages, however, some villagers failed to comply.

Laos was the third-largest illicit opium poppy producer in the world as recently as 1998, however, commitment to eradication efforts on the part of the government has reduced opium cultivation to marginal levels, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

The country made opium poppy cultivation illegal in 2005, leaving many farmers without the means to make a living. However, alternative development projects have seen farmers growing other cash crops, such as coffee, ensuring livelihood opportunities.