In contrast to the increasing amount of
crops being grown on small plots of land by individuals, the harvests from
collective farms in North Korea are said to be declining.
A source from South Pyongan Province who recently spoke with our Daily NK reporter expressed the viewpoint that
attempts by the regime to pass farming policy that would increase the amount of
food harvested and distributed to individuals from collective farms have had
“no substantive effect.”
Sources in North Pyongan Province and North Hamgyong Province corroborated this news.
The amount of food harvested this year from
the collective farms has “once again fallen short of expectations,” he said, adding that the
farmers who work on them have criticized the orders coming down from the
authorities, saying that “if we do things the way they want us to, it’s not
going to work.”
Although the regime has forced people to
mobilize, the source asserted that farm yields are not increasing. So, then, “the best thing to do would be to further divide the land up among
individuals,” he posited.
Our source wondered if individual farms
were not more successful because each person tending them personally grew and
watered their plants. Currently, farmers must follow directives regarding the
amount of water they can use on collective farms. He warned that if
the system is not completely overhauled, crop yields will fail to improve.
In 2012, the North Korean government passed
the ‘June 28th Measures,’ part of a “new economic management system in our own
style.” This reduced production units on cooperative farms from groups of
10-25, to smaller factions of 4-6 members. as part of the reforms stipulated in
the ‘June 28th Measures.’ On paper, the state receives 70% of the target production, with
farmers receiving 30% and any surplus if targets are exceeded.
In practice, however, things appear to be different. After its implementation in a number of
regions, “the production rate on collective farms remained low and the
policy was unable to achieve meaningful results,” the source said, adding that
many worry these reforms will take the same path as the ‘July 1st Economic
Management Reform Measures of 2002,’ which fizzled out after approximately three
“Although the the North’s official
propaganda contends that the measures taken regarding the collective farms are
scientifically based, in actuality, it’s just working the mobilized even
harder,” the source alleged.
“Each time a policy stumbles a
bit, the people immediately think back to the last time a similar policy was
implemented and anticipate yet another failure. We cannot believe in these
policies that just sound good on paper anymore, and people are speaking out in
favor of actual scientific and technical farming strategies.”
Two years have passed since Kim Jong Un’s
announcement that the people would no longer have to tighten their belts, yet “the people have yet to see a policy directive issued that is related in any way
to this promise,” he said.
“In fact, it is common for people to say among themselves that
Kim Jong Un ‘should know what he’s doing by now.'”