Opium plants are widely grown in Muong Long
Tri Le Commune in Que Phong District is renowned as an opium producing and drug trafficking hotspot.
The Government has requested that local residents clear opium plants and grow other crops. However, opium poppies can still be found planted on the hills and in forests in Muong Long Highlands Village in Tri Le.
Mong ethnic people also plant opium trees on a 20-hectare area in Huoi Muong Valley.
Several 40-50 square metre lots in Hoi Xai 1, Huoi Xai 2 and Muong Long Highlands Villages have been used to cultivate the plants.
A 1,000-square metre opium field can yield earnings of VND35-VND30 million (USD1,678-USD1,918) per year. Each kilo of such resin is sold at from VND15 million-VND17 million (USD719-USD815), providing a lucrative income for growers.
A local man said that deforestation had become more serious in Tri Le over recent years as people have cleared woodland to foster opium growing.
Chairman of Tri Le Communal People’s Committee Lo Xuan Thu said opium resembles a variety of cabbage and in many areas, people had combined plots growing the two plants to hinder detection.
According to Thu, most of opium growing areas in the commune were illegally planted by people crossing the border from neighbouring Laos.
Nguyen Viet Tha, secretary of the communal Party Committee, said the border guards should be held accountable for the issue.
Tran Quoc Thanh, secretary of the district Party Committee, said more attention should be paid to improving people’s living standards in order to encourage people to abandon drug production and smuggling.
Opium bring large profits
Pha Ca Tun dotted by opium plants