DPRK aims to increase food rations

Kim Jong il sets sights on increasing processed food rationing in order to improve the daily lives of the people
Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)
NK Brief No. 09-8-10-1
8/10/2009

North Korean authorities, recognizing that rationing of processed foods is directly linked to the daily lives of the residents of North Korea, are concentrating on a policy of increasing distribution as part of the campaign to build a ‘Strong and Prosperous Nation’ by 2012. The policy calls for the construction of regional food processing facilities throughout the country and using domestic ingredients for all processed foods. In addition, the government plans to undertake diversification of small-scale factories in order to produce soybean paste, soy sauce, cooking oil and other staples, as well as noodles, rice-cake and other foods, all kinds of side dishes, and alcoholic beverages.

This movement was announced in concurrence with Kim Jong Il’s visit to the Samilpo Special Products Factory and Store, both run by the military, on April 7, just two days after the North’s launch of a long-range rocket. This factory, on the bank of the Daedong River, produces over 350 kinds of edibles, including noodles, rice-cakes, oil, sweets, alcoholic drinks, processed meats and fish products. During his visit, Kim Jong Il is said to have stated, “Today, I am happier than during the launch of the Kwangmyeongseong 2,” emphasizing his interest in boosting food production.

On July 15, (North) Korean Central Broadcasting announced the formation of construction offices in Jagang, North Pyongan and other provinces to oversee the building of food production complexes, and the dispatch of “shock troops” to bolster construction efforts.

Recently, the construction of large-scale factories to produce foodstuffs out of each region’s local stock has been pursued in every province in the country. Even at the Cabinet level, a ’Production Workers’ Conference’ was held, bringing together responsible authorities and local production experts to discuss a course for quickly improving services provided to the general population.

In order to effectively implement the North’s policy of increasing rations of foodstuffs, the Standing Committee of the Supreme People’s Assembly issued an order to establish a Ministry of Foodstuff and Daily Necessities Industry.

As North Korea tries to implement this type of measure to boost production and rationing, failure to improve food shortage conditions and economic hardships while at the same time mobilizing the population in a drive to establish a Strong and Prosperous Nation has led to growing outcries among residents. North Korean authorities appear to be introducing these measures in order to placate these complaints.

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