North Korea’s Kim calls for boost in agricultural production
Seoul, Mar 2 (EFE).- North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party concluded an important meeting where leader Kim Jong-un proposed a series of objectives, including improving irrigation and boosting mechanization to improve agricultural production, amid fears of food shortages in the isolated country, state media reported Thursday.
The plenary session, which was held over four days at the party’s Central Committee building in Pyongyang, concluded on Wednesday, state news agency KCNA said.
The meeting “set forth a medium and long-term strategy for the final solution of the rural question,” according to KCNA.
Among the four matters discussed in the meeting was a review of the agricultural policies implemented in 2022, the implementation of a national economic plan, the improvement of the state’s financial work and, lastly, organizational matters.
Leader Kim Jong-un presided over the meeting and said that boosting grain production was one of the “12 major goals” of the national economic development plan established by the Central Committee in another plenary session held at the end of December.
Based on the review of what was implemented during the previous year, he proposed three major objectives, starting with the improvement of irrigation systems.
Kim also called for the production and supply to the rural communities of “more new and high-efficient farm machines which are the most necessary and effective in putting the agricultural production on a modern and advanced basis.”
“Another crucial task which should be dynamically hastened nationwide for the agricultural development of the country is to reclaim tidelands and extend the cultivated areas,” he said, KCNA reported.
This week, South Korea’s statistics office released an estimate of the area occupied in the neighboring country by rice fields, one of the main livelihoods of the North Korean population, based on satellite images, and established that it decreased by 0.8 percent in 2022 compared to the previous year.
This somewhat exceptional meeting – the party held one just two months ago and usually convenes two plenary sessions a year, the first of them in mid-spring – comes at a time when the food situation appears to have deteriorated in the impoverished country.
Strict border closures imposed to prevent the entry of Covid-19, the weather conditions and international sanctions seem to be behind an apparent drop in the country’s agricultural yields.
Recently, the South Korean Ministry of Unification, in charge of ties with the North, pointed out, without offering specific data, that the food situation in the neighboring country seemed to be worsening, with deaths from starvation in some regions.
North Korea, which suffers from endemic malnutrition, faced a severe famine in the mid to late 1990s that is believed to have killed more than 3 million people in the country. EFE