DPRK

North Korea Today No. 238 - Oct 2008

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"Secure Rice for the Military First even in the Case of Reducing the Farmers' Share"

October 9th, after hearing about the details of this year's crop situation from the Ministry of Agriculture, the Central Party asked workers in the rear who are under the Support Bureau of the Ministry of the People's Armed Forces how much food is needed for each army corps. They issued a new order when the workers in the rear front told them that the reserved rice wouldn't be sufficient this year.

The Central Party issued an order to each city and county that "3-5 months quantity of food out of one year's amount should be distributed to farmers in the countryside around the nation; collect the rest of the available food to be reserved for the military. The party members should play the central role, taking the lead in collecting the reserved military food."

Farmers Shocked and Angered At the Divestment of their Rations to the Military

In order to ensure food rations for the army from this year's crop, the Central Party gave an order to cut food rations to farmers. The Farm Administration Committee of Sariwon City in North Hwanghae Province tried to raise an objection to the Party's decision, but it was rejected. The Committee claims that if the food ration for farmers is cut and diverted to the military, farmers would not come to work, as happened last year. To avert farmer absenteeism, the Committee requested that the authorities reconsider their decision.

Nevertheless, the Committee's criticism provoked the Central Party and resulted in a member of the committee being brought up for a hearing by the board of inquiry. The officer may be dismissed from his post. In addition, farm officers are perplexed by the authorities' decision because they know very well how vulnerable the farmers are.

Despite dissatisfaction with the authorities, they are compelled to comply with the Party's order with no complaints. Farmers are full of worries as to how they will manage to live next year if they cannot receive a food ration this year.