New corn seed slated to increase crop yields this year in North Korea

Corn grown in Ryanggang Province (image from 2017). Image: Daily NK

North Korea’s agricultural authorities have developed a new kind of seed suitable for cultivation at high altitudes and have provided the seeds to local collective farms as part of efforts to increase corn production, sources in Ryanggang Province recently told Daily NK.

The authorities expect the use of the new drought-resistant seed to help increase corn yields in areas that suffered from poor harvests due to droughts last year.

“There are signs that drought is going to a problem again this year in the northern region of the country. The new corn seeds, however, are supposed to be drought-hardy and this has made farmers more optimistic,” a Ryanggang Province-based source told Daily NK.

“The agricultural authorities have been trying new ways to increase the production of grains given the difficult farming situation in the country. Research institutes in the agricultural sector have worked together to develop the new seed and it is now being distributed to farms across the country.”

Citing a pilot study conducted at a military base in Samsu County, he said that the new seed has been proven to increase yields.

“The growth and development period for the seed is shorter, which means that the seed can be used over two farming seasons, he explained, adding that farmers are also using the seeds on their private plots of land.

The Institute of Agriculture, the Corn Research Institute and the High-altitude Agricultural Institute and Seed-gathering Engineering Research Institute worked together to develop the seed.

“Potatoes, barley, beans, and corn are the main crops in the high-altitude, northern regions of the country. Barley can be eaten after three months of planting because its seeding time has been reduced from 105 to 70 days. The country is trying out a lot of different seeds that can raise grain production,” a separate source in Ryanggang Province said.

“The new corn seed is easy to store and increases crop yields. County agricultural departments and the heads of cooperative farms all expect excellent corn yields this year.”