North Koreans hoarding rice

From the Daily NK:
10/23/2006
Kang Jae Hyok

According to a North Korean source, while international community has been worried that North Korea will undergo “the second march of tribulation”, recently the number of North Korean people who lay in rice has been increasing.

Kim Jong Hee(pseudonym, 39), Chungjin resident said on the phone interview with the DailyNK that, “In spite of Fall, the price of rice is not decreasing”, and “These days the number of people who buy rice is sharply increasing”.

Kim added that from last June the price of rice is 1,000~1,200 won (0.30 US$~0.36 US$) per 1kg and in August it increased up to 1,300 won, yet even in October(now) the price is not decreasing. The price of corn wet up to 300 or 400 won.

It is natural that in fall the price of rice goes down and in spring goes up. So people lay in rice in fall. However, given that the price of rice does not go down until now, in the next spring it will be expected to go up more. Because of it, it seams that people lay in more rice in advance.

The exchange rate of yuan in black market is 360won of North Korea per 1 yuan. In 1990, the exchange rate was 1:25 and in 2002 after the 7.1. Economic Management Improvement Measure it was 1: 300. Recently it goes up to 1: 360. In addition, 1 dollar is 3,300 won of North Korea.
“Only interested in survival, never in nuclear test”

Responding to a question “do you know North Korea did nuclear test?”, Kim said that, “I do not care about whether the North Korean government did the test or not. I am busy supporting our family so I have time to think about that”. According to him, because there have been electronic lights there, people cannot know about what happened in the world.

Kim who is a vendor selling Chinese goods in Sunam market, Chungjin said that for a few days Chinese vendors have not come in Chungjin and now are around Haeryung. In the past the Chinese vendors came in once a week, yet now it is letting up at the same time the price of goods are increasing.

Regarding this trend, some people explained that because of the tension in Korean peninsular caused by the nuclear test the Chinese vendors have visited less and less and because of the censoring in goods introduced in North Korea, the amount of goods coming in North Korea has decreased.

Kim said that now Chinese goods in North Korean markets amount for more than 80%. If the sanction of China against North Korea is taken, the North Korean Jangmadangs will be negatively influenced.

Kim also said that, “Unless the Chinese goods are not introduced, we cannot survive”, and now it is the time to lay in rice for the next spring. This is what is most important to us now”.

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