Authorities to reclaim land used for private farms

Kang Mi Jin  |  2017-06-02 08:03
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The North Korean authorities have recently issued warnings that the state will reclaim land currently being used by residents for farming. The announcements have caused caused serious concern from those who rely on the plots for survival. The efforts by the state to ban cultivation on private plots falls in line with Kim Jong Uns reforestation policies. Residents, who stand to lose a major food source, are responding harshly to the news.
In order to reforest eroded land, the authorities have started to reclaim land in use by residents for private farming, reported a Ryanggang Province source in a conversation with Daily NK on May 25th. The announcements were made to residents at local neighborhood watch meetings referred to as inminban meetings. Ordinarily, a lot of residents are absent from the inminban meetings, but since this particular occasion involved a subject related to their livelihoods, it was well attended.  
The information was also relayed to residents in other regions. A source in Hoeryong City, North Hamgyong Province added, Theyre currently planting pine and larch trees on land that was used for private farming. Even with their private plots, residents are struggling to put enough food on the table. Taking them away is going to make things much worse.  
The term private plot is used to refer to illegal farming plots on public land that residents have resorted to for survival, following the collapse of the public food distribution system. 
The authorities claim that the newest measures are aimed at preventing flooding and land devastation. But the residents have been taken by surprise, and are complaining that the authorities should have first considered the immense challenges they face in trying to survive.
It is indefensible that they are taking away the land without addressing the fundamental issue. The food distribution system isnt working, so the residents are solving the food problem through their own hard work. But now the authorities are stomping on those efforts, said a separate source in North Hamgyong Province. 

Residents who do not have strong farming skills are said to be more severely affected. 

One seventy-year-old woman who attended the neighborhood meeting in Ryanggang Province told the source, The only saving grace when the food distribution stopped was that we were able to work hard and grow our own food. Taking away the private plots is like taking away our life lines.  
The source added, Upon hearing that the authorities plan to repossess the land, residents caused a commotion in the meeting room. The residents shouted Its only because we residents behave well in any other country, this would cause violence! 
Despite encountering resistance, the authorities appear to be already implementing the orders. In a surprising turn of events, the authorities are resorting to excuses in an effort to appease the irate residents.   
Both sources added that the agricultural science centers affiliated with the provincial offices in their respective regions announced that they have developed high-yield seeds that are now for sale at the marketplace. The seeds are reported to result in a bountiful harvest without requiring a lot of labor, but the news is seen as a vain attempt to pacify the residents ire.

The regime has issued multiple orders to reclaim private plots since the early 2000s, but enforcement has been hampered each time by resistance from the residents. 

*Edited of Lee Farrand

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