Update on North Korea’s indegenous fertilizer industry

According to Yonhap:

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has visited a fertilizer factory and a synthetic fabric factory in a northern province and ordered speedy modernization of their facilities, state media said Friday.

Kim’s trip to the Hungnam Fertilizer Complex highlighted his special care for the country’s fertilizer production, as South Korea’s aid of the material, essential for rice and corn farming, remains suspended for the second year. Kim visited the same factory in February.

“The gasification process of the complex is of weighty importance in boosting the fertilizer production,” Kim was quoted by the Korean Central News Agency as saying.

North Korea has developed its own fertilizer production process called “coal gasification.” The process converts coal from a solid to a gaseous state that is similar to natural gas, and can be converted to ammonia that is used to make fertilizer. North Korea has rich deposits of coal and would otherwise have to import natural gas for fertilizer production.

He praised the complex for “entirely depending on locally available raw resources” and emphasized completion of the gasification process “in a brief span of time,” the report said

“He showed such great care as unraveling knotty problems on the spot,” it added.

North Korea’s own fertilizer output is estimated at less than 500,000 tons a year, about a third of the 1.5 million tons the country needs for its grain farming, according to Seoul’s Unification Ministry.

Since 1999, the South Korean government has provided an average 300,000 tons of fertilizer to the North every year to help ease the country’s chronic food shortages. But the aid was suspended after conservative President Lee Myung-bak took office last year, linking inter-Korean aid and exchanges to progress in North Korea’s denuclearization.

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N. Korean leader visits fertilizer, textile factories


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