Kim Jong Un Pig Farm
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects the Taechon Pig Farm in April of 2017. (Rodong Sinmun)

North Korea distributed pork to military units to mark the 90th anniversary of the founding of the North Korean army on Apr. 25. However, responsibility for the provision fell upon local factories, enterprises, and collective farms near where the units are based.

According to a Daily NK source in Yanggang Province on Monday, North Korean authorities ordered local party branches to supply pork to military units as this year was a tenth year anniversary of the army’s founding. Ten year anniversaries carry particular symbolic importance in North Korea. 

Accordingly, Yanggang Province’s party committee ordered municipal and county-level party committees to ensure local military units received pork. These local party committees then passed on the order to local factories, enterprises, and collective farms. 

The party committee of Kimjongsuk County assigned local factories, enterprises, and collective farms with taking care of designated military units, tasking them with providing the units with pork between Apr. 18 and 23.

However, with local providers constantly providing pork to military units this year for the 80th birthday of late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il on Feb. 16 and 110th birthday of late North Korean founder Kim Il Sung on Apr. 15, they reportedly had little pork to provide for the Apr. 25 holiday. 

Even after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, North Korea has been ordering that military units be supplied with pork on every state holiday.

Daily NK’s source said that with the protracted border closure and focused efforts to provide pork to construction workers on major national projects – such as the the construction of 10,000 housing units in Pyongyang – pork supplies have hit rock bottom. This has led to worries among local officials in the runup to recent holidays. 

In fact, workers at a collective farm in Sinsang-ri, Kimjongsuk County, had a tough time when they failed to provide pork for the local military unit.

The farm had to go through nine work teams just to find a 20 kilogram pig to send to the military unit. In return, the unit agreed to pay 10 times the price of the pork in grain harvested in autumn. Pork currently costs KPW 22,000 a kilogram in the area. 

The source said with the repeated orders to supply pork to military units on holidays, the factories, enterprises and collective farms that end up taking responsibility for the provisions are complaining of extreme fatigue. He noted that despite this, the government simply brags about nuclear weapons and missiles, focusing solely on promoting its accomplishments.

Interestingly, Daily NK understands that North Korea neglected to inform residents of border regions that it conducted a military parade and related events to mark the 90th anniversary of the founding of the North Korean military.

Believing that internal information is leaking to the outside world primarily through border regions, the authorities are apparently preventing the spread of information about the scheduling of major events to residents of Yanggang and North Hamgyong provinces.

Translated by David Black. Edited by Robert Lauler. 

Please direct any comments or questions about this article to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.

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Kim Chae Hwan is one of Daily NK's full-time journalists. He can be contacted at dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.