The Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) will distribute land plots to farmers in Tanai Township as part of its poppy eradication programme in Kachin State’s Hukawng Valley, an area of Tanai Township where opium cultivation has long been a problem.
According to an anonymous KIO officer working in the Shin Bwe Yang area, where the programme is starting, the Kachin armed group will give two acres of land plot to about a hundred families from Tarung and Tahket, about 30 minutes away by motorbike from Tarung.
“We believe if we give them farmland, poppy plantations will decrease,” he told KNG. The KIO is providing tractors to help the villagers cultivate seasonal vegetables and other crops.
“We told the farmers to grow mustard plants instead of poppy plants. There’s already a mustard oil mill in Lamung, and I think we’ll build more mills in other villages.”
KIO provided 100 acres to farmers in La Mawng in Tanai Township in early 2021.
Of the 1,000 families from Tarung and Tahket, over 100 were growing opium.
This year, KIO officials destroyed 400 acres of poppy in Tanai Township after suspending their anti-drug activities in the Hukawng Valley from 2020-21 because of the pandemic and the coup.
The anti-drug organisation Pat Jasan, famous for its vigilante actions against illicit narcotics producers, dealers and users, has also resumed its anti-narcotics campaign in Kachin State, after stopping for two years. The civilian organisation, which was formed in 2014 and is supported by the KIO, will prioritise activities aimed at increasing anti-narcotic awareness.