Hunger in the news
19 March 2009
Despite all the promises of development, and the promotion of other crops such as tea, asparagus and rubber, switching out of poppies had left most farmers in Myanmar and Laos worse off, even before the current global downturn. UNODC and the Laotian government had to appeal to the World Food Programme (WFP) for emergency food aid. More than half the 2,058 villages in the provinces of Phongsaly, Houaphan and Xieng Khouang, most of which had been put under pressure to abandon opium, were short of food. A former WFP representative in Vientiane, Christa Rader, concludes that massive development programmes will be needed to help former opium-growers find other ways of making ends meet.