A number of regions in North Korea have reportedly suffered significant weather-related damage to their corn fields. Corn is regarded as a critically important grain, and heavy rains have abruptly followed an extended drought. Although severe food shortages are likely to result, the North Korean authorities are reportedly remaining silent.
“The corn crop was damaged due to the long drought and finally began to be show signs of repair this month thanks to the rain. But with the sudden heavier rains, the crops have largely been destroyed. The damage is particularly severe in Chongjin and Kimchaek (North Hamgyong Province), and it is said that Danchon in South Hamgyong Province is also in a serious situation,” a source in North Hamgyong Province told Daily NK on July 12.
“The regions near the east coast have received more damage due to strong winds. The residents are trying their best to save the harvest by propping up the crops that have fallen and digging ditches, but these efforts seem to be in vain.”
Typically, farmers in North Korea stabilize corn plants using ropes to prepare for the rainy season, but this year’s severe drought has prevented them from doing so.
Meanwhile, the authorities have not provided any appropriate measures to address the issues. Residents are said to be furious, as the authorities are feigning ignorance in response to the desperate appeals by farmers to take action to limit the damage.
“The residents are criticizing the regime, saying that this would not happen in a secure country and they don’t understand why the authorities act only after everything has been los. People complain that they have poured huge sums of money into construction projects, but when it comes to agriculture, not a penny was invested,'” a source in South Hamgyong Province said.
“The authorities have not provided any measures to cope with the rainy season and left it all to the residents. It’s the farmers and the ordinary citizens that will suffer most from the looming food shortages.”
The Rodong Sinmun (North Korean state-run publication) claimed in an editorial entitled “Let’s be thoroughly prepared for the rainy season,” on July 12 that all residents should “dedicate themselves to the construction of a strong socialist nation by taking part in the preparation battle for the rainy season,” encouraging them “to show every ounce of North Korea’s patriotic enthusiasm and passion for the battle.”