Posts Tagged: DPRK organic farming

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DPRK Directs Much Effort to Agricultural Development

From KCNA

Pyongyang, January 5 (KCNA) — The joint New Year editorial says that at present, the food problem is a burning issue in building a thriving country.

The editorial calls on agricultural officials to implement to the letter the Workers’ Party of Korea’s policy of agricultural revolution so as to radically increase the per-unit area yield of grain both in lowlands and highlands.

It also says that they should ensure that the modern bases for stockbreeding and poultry farming and large-size fruit and fish farms, all having an important share in the improvement of people’s living standards, run at full capacity.

The country has paid much effort to the agricultural development.

Last year solid foundations for increased grain output were laid and modern stockbreeding bases and fish and fruit farms built in different parts of the country under the wise leadership of Kim Jong Il.

A cyclic production system between farming and stockbreeding was established and the organic farming method was introduced in co-op farms throughout the country.

The completed first-phase gasification process of the Hungnam Fertilizer Complex has made it possible to sharply boost the fertilizer production based on raw materials and fuel available in the country. -0-

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DPRK Agriculture Minister Ri Kyong Sik elaborates on yesterday’s Joint New Year Editorial in the Rodong Sinmun article New Innovations in Agriculture Production (see above). As is common in North Korean writing, much of the beginning and end of the article deal with politics (here the place of agriculture in politics), however, some purely agriculture related material can be found in the middle of the article. This material too, largely reflects what was written in yesterday’s New Year Editorial, however, there is some elaboration.

For instance, while the overall goal of agriculture policy remains increases in production, organic farming and a cyclical agriculture systems are mentioned in the context of “markedly increasing soil fertility”  and “improving arrangements of varieties/breeds” (multi-cultures as opposed to “monocultures”). Both of these techniques can help in 1) cutting down on outside inputs (fertilizers, pesticides), 2) improving crop resilience (to disease, climactic events) and 3) possibly reversing (or at least slowing) land degradation, all of which are undoubtedly important needs in North Korea.

Imagine yourself in the place of a long time reader of Rodong Sinmun. Although the government does not name these challenges specifically, they would be very much obvious to anyone with an agriculture or scientific background. In addition, for anyone familiar with past DPRK agriculture policy over the past twenty years, such articles would be implicit evidence that the government has recognized some of its past policies (heavy reliance on outside inputs, extensive use of monocultures) may have been mistaken. For outside readers, this should be evidence that the DPRK government is not static, nor is it slave to past policy. 

Sources: 

Ri, Kyong Sik. New Innovations in Agriculture Production (농업생산에서 새로운 혁신을). Rodong Sinmun. January 2, 2012. 

北, 작물·품종배치 사고 전환 강조. Daily NK. May 22, 2007. 

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The section of North Korea’s New Year Editorial dealing with agriculture (above). It is interesting in its mention of achieving a cyclic production between farming and stockbreeding, promotion of organic agriculture, and meeting demands for farming materials and machinery. These suggest not only shortages in industrial agriculture inputs, but also issues with land degradation that would make nutrient cycling between agriculture and livestock and organic farming an appealing, and perhaps necessary, approach to improving the DPRK’s agriculture sector.
While many observers see foreign food imports bought with money from exports driven by low-cost industry laor as the easiest way of solving the nation’s food problem, such an approach leaves much to be said about the future of rural economy in North Korea. In a country that has undergone economic collapse, particularly in industry, and experienced decades of food shortages, it will not be simple work to convince farmers (and non-farmers engaged in subsistence agriculture) to abandon their connections to the land.
Could perhaps organic agriculture and integrated agriculture systems serve as a foundation for a dynamic and successful rural sector in North Korea? Could these techniques play a role in reversing much of the environmental degradation that has occurred there? Might engaging the DPRK in turning such goals into reality serve as a more stable foundation for engagement (as opposed food and energy aid)?
From KCNA: 

At present, the food problem is a burning issue in building a thriving country. Today Party organizations’ militant efficiency and officials’ loyalty to the revolution will be verified in solving this problem. They should implement to the letter the Party’s policy of agricultural revolution so as to radically increase the per-unit area yield of grain both in lowlands and highlands. It is important to achieve cyclic production between farming and stockbreeding, introduce the organic farming method of our style in a proactive manner and take timely measures to satisfy the demand for farming materials and machinery needed to hit the target for agricultural production. They should ensure that the modern bases for stockbreeding and poultry farming and large-size fruit and fish farms, all having an important share in the improvement of people’s living standards, run at full capacity.

Sources: 
DPRK Leading Newspapers Publish Joint New Year Editorial. Korean Central News Agency. January 1, 2012
DPRK Joint New Year Editorial. Rodong Sinmun. January 1, 2012. 

The section of North Korea’s New Year Editorial dealing with agriculture (above). It is interesting in its mention of achieving a cyclic production between farming and stockbreeding, promotion of organic agriculture, and meeting demands for farming materials and machinery. These suggest not only shortages in industrial agriculture inputs, but also issues with land degradation that would make nutrient cycling between agriculture and livestock and organic farming an appealing, and perhaps necessary, approach to improving the DPRK’s agriculture sector.

While many observers see foreign food imports bought with money from exports driven by low-cost industry laor as the easiest way of solving the nation’s food problem, such an approach leaves much to be said about the future of rural economy in North Korea. In a country that has undergone economic collapse, particularly in industry, and experienced decades of food shortages, it will not be simple work to convince farmers (and non-farmers engaged in subsistence agriculture) to abandon their connections to the land.

Could perhaps organic agriculture and integrated agriculture systems serve as a foundation for a dynamic and successful rural sector in North Korea? Could these techniques play a role in reversing much of the environmental degradation that has occurred there? Might engaging the DPRK in turning such goals into reality serve as a more stable foundation for engagement (as opposed food and energy aid)?

From KCNA: 

At present, the food problem is a burning issue in building a thriving country. Today Party organizations’ militant efficiency and officials’ loyalty to the revolution will be verified in solving this problem. They should implement to the letter the Party’s policy of agricultural revolution so as to radically increase the per-unit area yield of grain both in lowlands and highlands. It is important to achieve cyclic production between farming and stockbreeding, introduce the organic farming method of our style in a proactive manner and take timely measures to satisfy the demand for farming materials and machinery needed to hit the target for agricultural production. They should ensure that the modern bases for stockbreeding and poultry farming and large-size fruit and fish farms, all having an important share in the improvement of people’s living standards, run at full capacity.

Sources:

DPRK Leading Newspapers Publish Joint New Year Editorial. Korean Central News Agency. January 1, 2012

DPRK Joint New Year Editorial. Rodong Sinmun. January 1, 2012. 

Photo Set

An article by North Korea’s Vice Agriculture Minister mentions Kim Jong Il’s promotion of organic farming: 

Grounded in the vigorous leadership of the Great General, a firm basis for improving farming according to Juche agriculture has been established with science and technology through the active introduction of new farming methods and technology including organic agriculture across all the country’s rural communities. 

It is interesting that the introduction of organic agriculture is seen as a means to carry out Juche agriculture as set out by Kim Il Sung. Juche agriculture is (was?) Green Revolution style industrial input driven agriculture; a far cry from organic agriculture. It also shows that agriculture methods and policy in the DPRK over the past two decades have been far from static. The collapse of the Soviet Union, famine, continued food shortages, weather related disasters, and environmental degradation have left their mark on how food is grown in the country. 

Source: Rodong Sinmun