Current Affairs

60% Reduction in Opium Poppy Cultivation Recorded in Manipur

60% Reduction in Opium Poppy Cultivation Recorded in Manipur

Based on a report from the Manipur Remote Sensing Applications Centre (MARSAC), Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh has declared a major win in the state's battle against opium poppy cultivation, with a 60% decline in the cultivation area over the three-year period from 2021 to 2024.

This accomplishment is attributed to the general public's support of the War on Drugs program, which aims to safeguard the state's youth. Chief Minister Singh used social media to accentuate the campaign's achievements and the teamwork involved in battling drug cultivation in Manipur.

In districts that were previously recognized for such activities, such as Kangpokpi, Churachandpur, and Senapati, the MARSAC study shows a significant decline in opium poppy cultivation. From 28,599 acres in 2021–2022 to 16,890 acres in 2022–2023 was the total area under cultivation. MARSAC data pertaining to individual districts reveals a decline in the cultivation of opium poppy throughout Manipur, with notable declines observed in Churachandpur, Senapati, and Kangpokpi. The state's anti-drug campaigns have had a widespread influence, as seen by the decreases in opium poppy production in other districts such as Chandel, Kamjong, Ukhrul, Tengnoupal, Noney, and Tamenglong.

About the growing of opium poppies

Cultivating the flowering plant known as the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum), from which opium is extracted from immature seedpods, is referred to as opium poppy cultivation. The majority of the world's cultivation is found in nations like Afghanistan, Myanmar, and Laos. Since ancient times, people have utilized the opium poppy plant to make opium, the primary component of narcotics like heroin. Because opium poppy growing is linked to the illegal drug trade and has detrimental effects on both communities and individuals, it is prohibited in many nations.

Manipur's poppy cultivation is motivated by two factors:

a lack of viable alternatives and economic desperation.

The main reason Manipur's farmers resort to poppy farming is economic necessity. Manipur has little agricultural and job prospects due to its isolated and difficult terrain. For many poor people, growing poppies seems like a profitable option because of its high profitability when compared to more traditional crops like rice or vegetables. The strong local and international demand for opium despite its illegal status makes poppy production an alluring, albeit hazardous, endeavor.

Influence of Historical Context and Geography

Manipur's closeness to the Golden Triangle, a region renowned for producing opium, has a big impact on how long poppy farming will last. Despite the possible legal ramifications, poppy production is encouraged by the ease of access to profitable smuggling routes. Due in part to the region's historical involvement in the opium trade and the absence of strict enforcement measures, this behavior has been firmly ingrained in some local populations.

Government Initiatives and Suggested Remedies

The Manipur government and its affiliated organizations have made an effort to adopt various agricultural practices, like the growing of cardamom and lemongrass. These programs are being combined with financial incentives, technical training, and market access. Any substitute, meanwhile, must to be able to match the income levels that poppies can provide in order to be feasible.

60% Reduction in Opium Poppy Cultivation Recorded in Manipur