The annual “rice planting battle” has been launched by the North Korean authorities, with Chosun Central News Agency (KCNA) reporting on the 11th that rice planting has begun on Wonhwa Collective Farm in Wonhwa-ri in Pyongwon, South Pyongan Province.
Wonhwa Collective Farm has been held up as a model farm since May 10th, 1952, when Kim Il Sung visited and sowed seeds with the farmers. The reporting of rice planting there now triggers all farmers in rice-farming flat areas to start planting.
KCNA reported, “Even in this hitherto unprecedentedly unfavorable climate, the workers and farmers here poured their energy into treating seedbeds and raising strong rice seedlings. Maintenance of farming machinery including tractors was also completed in time, everything has been made ready and rice planting has begun.”
Naturally, since Wonhwa is held up as a model farm from which the start of rice planting tends to be reported by Rodong Shinmun, Chosun Central TV et al, farm machinery is also provided preferentially by the authorities, standing in contrast to the reliance on draught animals and manpower in most other locations. Many Party cadres and members of the Rural Management Committee even participate in the showpiece.
Meanwhile, Rodong Shinmun, the publication of the Workers’ Party, used the day to encourage people to take full part in the rice planting battle.
“Based on the principle that everything obeys farming, every effort, equipment and material necessary for the rice planting battle must be guaranteed them unconditionally,” it announced, calling for the whole country to be filled with people helping with the battle.
Soldiers and students are both mobilized for the battle. Students from 12 to 19 years of age, for example, spend the whole of May on collective farms, helping plant rice rather than attending school.