Despite Mother Nature, a bumper year for rice harvest

Lee Sang Yong  |  2015-11-26 14:55
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In spite of the severe droughts of the spring that were followed by severe summer floods in North Korea, the rice harvest has proven thus far to be particularly good for those tending personal plots of land.

On the 24th, a Daily NK reporter spoke with a source in Yanggang Province, who informed us that although the Rodong Sinmun has been urging citizens and the nation on a daily basis to work hard to restore the damage that resulted from the tempestuous weather earlier in the year, so far there are no reports of lower-than-average rice harvest numbers.

An additional source in North Hamgyong Province reported the same trend in his region. 

Small plot farmers have been particularly attentive to ensuring that their crops received adequate water supplies, with many using hand or motorized water pumps and water turbines for irrigation. Some people are even saying that as a result of the careful attention paid by these farmers to protect their crops from the weather, this years rice harvest is looking better than average, he said.

However, the number of people working hard to ensure the success of the rice harvests on collective farms is dropping. This is in large part due to the fact that despite reassurances from the state that farmers will receive sizable allocations of the harvest for their own use, for the past several years this has not been the case. 

After "repeated failures by the authorities to fulfill stated promises," he asserted, farmers have concluded that it makes no difference to them personally whether the collective farms do well or not. 

A bumper year for small farmers in combination with an average year for collective farm rice harvests has flooded the markets with rice, driving down prices. After setting aside rice for their families, farmers bring their extra harvest to sell. Currently, 1kg of rice is selling for 4880 KPW [0.57 USD] in Pyongyang, 4800 KPW [0.56 USD] in Sinuiju, and 4750 KPW [0.55 USD] in Hyesan. Prices have dropped 600 KPW [0.07 USD] since last month. 

Now that the rice harvest has finished and [collective farm] rice distribution portions for farmers are being calculated, the price of rice is naturally declining. Although farmers pay some attention to the portions of the collective farm harvests that they will receive, they arent anticipating much. 

According to the source, people say "its fine if the harvest is good, its fine if the harvest is bad" because they understand that the amount of the harvest they will get tends to stay the same regardless. 

We know that the nations rice does not belong to us. We know that it only goes to feed the military, and Peoples Committees cadres," the source explained. 

"This is why the people dont care about the state of the collective. We get our own rice either by purchasing it with money we make from the markets or growing it ourselves on our own small land plots. 

*Translated by Natalie Grant

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Won Pyongyang Sinuiju Hyesan
Exchange Rate 8,000 8,000 8,025
Rice Price 4,800 4,900 5,200