A Growing Number of North Korean people are Laying in Rice

[imText1]According to a North Korean source, recently a number of North Korean people have been laying in rice while the international community has been worried that North Korea will undergo “the second march of tribulation”.

Kim Jong Hee(pseudonym, 39), Chungjin resident said in a phone interview with the DailyNK that, “Even in the fall, the price of rice is not decreasing,” and “These days the number of people who buy rice has been sharply increasing.”

Kim added that last June the price of rice was 1,000~1,200 won (0.30 US$~0.36 US$) per 1kg and in August it increased up to 1,300 won, yet even in October(now) the price is not decreasing. Even the price of corn went up to 300 or 400 won.

It is natural that the price of rice goes down in the fall, and goes up in the spring. So people stock up on rice in the fall. However, given that the price of rice has not gone down even until now, in the next spring it is expected to go up more. Because of this, it seems that people stock up on more rice in advance.

The exchange rate of yuan in the black market is 360 North Korea won per 1 yuan. In 1990, the exchange rate was 1:25 and in 2002 after the 7.1. Economic Management Improvement Measure it went up to 1: 300. Recently it has gone up to 1: 360. In addition, 1 dollar is 3,300 North Korean won.

“Only interested in their own survival, never in nuclear test”

Responding to a question, “Do you know North Korea conducted nuclear tests?” Kim said that, “I do not care about whether or not the North Korean government did the test. I am busy supporting our family so I do not have time to think about that.” According to him, because there have not been electronic lights there, people cannot know about what happened in the world.

Kim who is a vendor selling Chinese goods in Sunam market, Chungjin, said that for a few days Chinese vendors have not come to Chungjin and now are staying just around Haeryung. In the past the Chinese vendors came in Chungjin once a week. Yet now it is letting up, at the same time the price of goods are increasing.

Regarding this trend, some people explained that because of the tension on the Korean peninsular caused by the nuclear test, the Chinese vendors have visited less and less and because of the banning of goods introduced into North Korea, the amount of goods coming into North Korea has decreased.

Kim said that now Chinese goods in North Korean markets amount for more than 80%. If the sanction of China against North Korea is taken, the North Korean Jangmadangs will be also negatively influenced.

Kim also said that, “Unless the Chinese goods are introduced, we cannot survive, and now it is the time to lay in rice for the next spring. This is what is most important to us now.”

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