For a socialist country that is to an extent self-sufficient agriculture in North Korea is a big deal. But how effective is it currently, what do they produce and what are the issues affecting agriculture in North Korea?
This is the YPT Guide
The agriculture scene in North Korea
Despite being a relatively big country much of North Korea is mountainous and not for suitable or agriculture. This means that only about 17 percent of North Korean land can actually be farmed.
This has led to many changes in crops to maximize yield and quite literally very farmable piece of land being heavily utilized.
How does farming work in North Korea
Unlike capitalist countries agriculture in North Korea takes the form of state ownership in that it is centrally planned an not private.
This takes on two different arenas, completely state owned, to cooperative farms, which while technically owned by the people who work there is part of the state apparatus.
Ironically these cooperative farms have more in common with Titoism than Stalinism.
You can read about Tito here.
And yes you can visit a cooperative farm in North Korea with us, you can read about the Chongsan-ri cooperative farm here.
Agriculture in North Korea and the Arduous March
Despite being officially and to a large extent self-sufficient through the ideology of Juche, the DPRK suffered greatly after the fall of the Soviet Union. This combined with a bad harvest and natural disasters led to what is known as the Arduous March..
To read about Juche click here.
It is not known how many died during this period, but the failure of the agriculture sector in North Korea was at least partly to blame. What this also led to was a form of economic change within the country, particularly with regards to private markets.
The opening of the North Korean economy through the agricultural sector
Since this time private markets have become an integral part of the North Korean economy. Much of it is based around consumer goods, but also excess agricultural produce, or that grown on private lots.
Essentially and much like was done in China and other socialist and formerly socialist states so long as the state is provided with its quota, excess can be sold at market value.
Whether this supplements the socialist system, or is part off a sider opening up of it is hotly debated.
Agriculture in North Korea and Tourism
While these two subject might seem like strange bedfellows many people have an academic interest in the agricultural sector of North Korea.
This initially led us to offer an independent agricultural tours of North Korea – which you can read about here.
It also though led us down a much more interesting route, actually volunteering on a farm in North Korea. We arranged this by making a partnership with a farm and essentially sponsoring them. This invoked our guests actually doing farming work, but also us making donations to help with the rural people of the farm.
This of course drew the ire of the western media, one such story you can read here.
They clearly did not get the meno about t being volunteer work and helping people out. Our North Korean farming volunteer tour actually proved extremely popular and is one we intend to bring back, when of course the time is right….
You can read about our Volunteer in North Korea tour here