Collective farm director in South Pyongan Province resigns from coveted position

North Koreans farming in North Hamgyong Province in early June 2019
North Koreans farming in North Hamgyong Province in early June 2019. Image: Daily NK

The managing director of a collective farm, a highly-valued job in North Korea, recently resigned from his position citing difficulties in performing his duties, Daily NK sources report.

Collective farm managing directors are often the envy of farmers due to the benefits that the position can bring. Locals are reportedly trying to find out exactly why the managing director left his job.

“The collective farm director was in charge of a farm in Pyongwon County, South Pyongan Province, in the country’s breadbasket,” said a South Pyongan Province-based source. “The director position is envied by all farmers so it’s rare to see anyone resigning from it.”

The county party committee generally signs off on the appointment of managing directors, who must prove their loyalty to the party. The position provides significant economic benefits.

The reason the director himself gave for resigning was “health issues.” He was still young and healthy, however, so he was forced to write a “self-criticism” document that is currently being reviewed by the authorities.

Rumors are beginning to swirl over the man’s resignation, with many believing that the “health issues” are just a pretext for the man’s inability to overcome fatigue from having to deal with all the tasks handed down by the party.

The recent droughts, floods and other natural disasters combined with international sanctions have made farming difficult and harvests have been poor as a result.

The farm led by the managing director in question had allegedly been selling off some of its corn and rice in secret to make ends meet. However, the price of crops failed to rise and the farm was in dire financial straits, placing heavy pressure on the managing director.

The North Korean authorities have been advising farms to deal with their issues by themselves while handing down additional tasks involving state construction projects.

“Farming is tough, yet the party just keeps piling on additional tasks for them to do. If the farms say they can’t do it, then the managing directors get in trouble. The directors are also targeted in corruption crackdowns, so they really are in a tight spot,” a separate source in South Pyongan Province added.