North Korea Today No. 240 - Oct 2008

News and Press Release
Originally published


City of Haeju Distributes Ration of Food for Two Months in Advance

The city of Haeju in South Hwanghae Province decided to distribute rations of food to the farmers and workers in advance, much earlier than usual. Party leaders of the city said "People have suffered a lot since last year because of inadequate food rations. Therefore we have to secure food for next year in any way possible. Once the city receives instructions to secure food for the military, military provisions are reserved first and then it is likely there will not be any definite plan for food distribution to the residents. Decision on early distribution was made because the instructions for military provisions did not arrive yet. As a result public enterprises and farms started to distribute food in the last two months, earlier than planned."

Released from Jobs Are the Party Leaders Responsible for Early Distribution of Food

Some farms in South Hwanghae Province decided to distribute food earlier than usual, just as the city of Haeju did, because residents are not able to receive sufficient amounts of food once the plan for the military provisions is received. Ongjin, Yeonahn and Baechun Counties finished distributing an 8-month supply of grain before the instructions for military provisions arrived. Provincial party leaders found out about the early distribution and severely criticized the county party leaders for unauthorized distribution of food and terminated their jobs. In addition, the provincial party asked the farmers to return the grain equivalent to a 3-month supply. However, there was no sign that farmers would return the grain, as farm leaders persuaded to hold on to it. The Provincial party also reemphasized the instruction, "Military provisions should be assured by all means, even if this means the farmers may not receive any."

All the Farms Tell the Residents, "Come and Take Soybeans before the Military Take Them"

All the farms in the nation are in a hurry to distribute soybeans to residents before any provisions for the military are ordered just as they distributed rice and corn. The central party's policy that each resident should receive 50g of soy bean product daily caused all the farms to pay much attention to soybean crop. However, once the plan for the military provisions is announced, it would be very likely that soybean allotment for the ordinary residents will be reduced. A village leader near the City of Soonchun, South Pyongan Province urged the residents, "Hurry up and take soybeans because very little will be left after military provisions. It is only natural that the county party leaders of farm leaders are more likely to pay close attention in caring for the residents that are under their jurisdiction than the military provisions." Nam Gyong-pil (51) says, "The local leaders feel more likely to help the residents than the military personnel who act like raiders. This kind of attitude is not a biased opinion peculiar to this area, but a phenomenon occurring all over the nation." Actually, the local leaders feel that their actions are in accordance with the policy of the central party which to distribute soybeans first to the local residents.

The Amount of Grain Stolen by Children Deducted from Parents' Ration

Fall harvest time is the high season for the theft of grain throughout the nation. Sariwon, North Hwanghae Province, is reinforcing the fight for ideology through meetings. Mainly housewives and young children get caught stealing grain. Hwang Pan-suk (45) says, "Usually adult men pay more attention to their surroundings, but housewives and young children act more recklessly and desperately, and get caught more often. Consequently, the meetings for the fight for ideology dealing with these people extend beyond midnight frequently. Normally the women are sent to re-education centers and the children are returned to their parents and the amount of theft is deducted from the parents' ration."

October Ration Only for Central District, City of Pyongyang

City of Pyongyang distributed 60 kg of whole corn only to the residents of Central District. The other districts have not received any yet.

This Year's Harvest Expected Better than Last Year

Even though no details of the final report on the fall harvest are known yet, this year's agricultural products are expected to be better than last year. More analyses on the reports throughout the nation and the results of the field inspections are needed for accurate results. The Ministry of Agriculture cautiously predicts that the output might be around three million MT. According to a central party leader, "there are reports from abroad that the satellite picture analysis indicates the output might be over four million MT. However, this figure seems to be excessive. And yet, it seems to be more than last year. The key is how to harvest it. Reduction of the output will occur if it cannot be harvested in a timely manner. This year's harvest is expected to be better, but the rice plants contain a lot of tares and that is why it is hard to predict. At best, three million MT is expected and at worst, it would still be better than last year. Since 2007, the food crisis caused even the military reserve to be consumed. All the storage bins in the nation are empty. Therefore, even the output exceeding three million MT will never be able to satisfy all the food requirements. The Food crisis still remains."

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