Higher Yields and Lower Distribution

Even though some of North Korea’s farmland including much around Shinuiju was flooded this year, in other provinces food production has been greater than in previous years, according to sources.

One source from South Pyongyang Province told The Daily NK yesterday, “There have been heavy rains and rivers overflowing in some places this year, but the rice crop is better than last year’s. It seems to be thanks to imported fertilizer from China.”

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Food Program (WFP) also reported last month that North Korea’s grains yields had increased by 3 percent over last year, to 4.48 million tons in total.

The source explained, “In April and May this year fertilizer came just in time, so it helped with the farming. Since the situation in that period decides the number of ears of grain, if you don’t provide fertilizer production can be halved.”

Another source from Yangkang Province agreed, saying, “This year in the jangmadang in Hyesan, 50 kilos of fertilizer was selling for 220 Yuan. The price was quite expensive, but people used it even on their private fields because it was so beneficial for production.”

However, the source said angrily, “Even though farming was better than last year, the year’s distribution for farmers was a mere 30kg of rice and 50kg of corn, 20kg of rice and 30kg of corn short of last year’s distribution. So farmers complained about it but the only answer was ‘more food should go to the military’. They were lost for words.”

The source said, “The authorities keep reiterating that thanks to the Youth Captain we will live better in the future, but then give us less distribution; who would believe this? Does this not mean that the Youth Captain will also try only to feed the military?”

He added, “In the end, the vicious circle where farmers on collective farms steal rice from the farm continues. Farm cadres have already siphoned off what they want, and then farmers also do that in groups.”

The source explained, “Due to the lack of electricity and frequent machinery failures, the threshing is still going on now. Military trucks are always waiting by the threshing location, and as soon as it is done, the rice goes to military bases.”

Furthermore, he added, “Rice provided for the military is also stolen by high officials, so normal soldiers are provided only with corn.”

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