Kim Jong Un orders “severe punishment” for those who build houses on farmland

Sunchon, South Pyongan Province
Sunchon, South Pyongan Province. Image: Daily NK

In the midst of nationwide efforts to increase food production, the regime has announced that residents who build houses on farmland will face severe punishment.

“An order recently signed by the Supreme Leader (North Korean leader Kim Jong Un) states that anyone who builds a house on [farm] land will be severely punished,” a source in Pyongyang told Daily NK.

“In the past, people were able to build houses or other types of buildings on any kind of land they wanted to, but that has now changed.”

The source further said that the reason for the order was because the building of houses on farmland damages food production. He also added that the order includes prohibitions against building new homes on empty lots and even making additions to existing houses.

The measure appears connected to the regime’s “Find New Land Campaign” aimed at increasing farm production and expanding farmland in the country.

The regime, which has long espoused “self-sufficiency” as a way to counter international sanctions on the country, is making efforts to resolve its own food problems and encourage residents to take part in these efforts.

The Rodong Sinmun published a commentary on May 3 entitled “Let’s Expand Farmland by Finding New Land.” The article asks readers to “find land where crops can be planted” and notes that “increasing the area of farmland will increase food production and resolve the people’s food problems.”

“The authorities have ordered people not to build stockyards in agricultural areas. Livestock is needed for food for local residents, so many are wondering what the authorities are thinking,” a separate source in the capital reported.

North Korean officials are also openly talking about their hope that Kim Jong Un will increase food production this year.

“Officials may be talking this way just to lower the sense of discontent felt by the people,” he said. “If food prices rise, North Koreans get concerned about the state of the economy, so there’s rumors that the government will step in and ‘manage’ the economy.”