Archive for the ‘Agriculture’ Category

Mongolia involved in Sepho Tableland project

Monday, April 7th, 2014

Sepho-tableland

Pictured above: Sepho, Phyonggang, and Ichon Counties. These three counties are home to the Sepho Tableland Project.

According to KCNA:

DPRK, Mongolia Sign MOUs

Pyongyang, April 2 (KCNA) — A memorandum of understanding on setting up the DPRK-Mongolia friendship joint company between the DPRK and Mongolian governments was inked here on Wednesday.

Present at the signing ceremony from the DPRK side were Ri Ryong Nam, minister of Foreign Trade who doubles as chairman of the DPRK side to the Inter-governmental Committee for Consultation in Economy, Trade, Science and Technology between the DPRK and Mongolia, Hwang Min, vice-minister of Agriculture who is also chairman of the Livestock Management Committee in Sepho Area, and officials concerned and from the Mongolian side were Mongolian Minister of Industry and Agriculture Khaltmaa Battulga who is chairman of the Mongolian side to the Inter-governmental Committee for Consultation in Economy, Trade, Science and Technology between the DPRK and Mongolia and his party and Manibadrakh Ganbold, Mongolian ambassador to the DPRK, and his embassy officials.

A MOU was also signed between the Ministry of Foreign Trade of the DPRK and the Ministry of Labor of Mongolia.

The Sepho Tableland Project was announced on November 9, 2012 (KCNA):

DPRK Premier Stresses Importance of Building Large-scale Stockbreeding Base

Pyongyang, November 9 (KCNA) — Premier Choe Yong Rim learned about the preparations for creating vast grass field in Sepho, Phyonggang and Ichon counties of Kangwon Province and turning it into a large-scale stockbreeding base of the country.

The creation of vast grass field in the counties covering tens of thousands of hectares and the construction of combined processing base for livestock products will bring about an epochal turn in carrying out the party’s policy of improving the standard of people’s living by massively breeding grass-eating domestic animals.

Generalissimos Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il gave instructions to Sepho County several times on developing stockbreeding suited to climatic, natural and topographical conditions, while making continued journey of guidance for people’s happiness.

The dear respected Marshal Kim Jong Un unfolded a plan for transformation of Sepho tableland, true to the intention of the great Generalissimos and brightly indicated the orientation and ways for realizing it.

The premier first learned about the vegetable produced in part of the reclaimed Sepho tableland, looking round the field of a sideline farm of a unit of the Korean People’s Army.

Then, he acquainted himself with the area of reclaimed grass field and soil condition in Sepho County in Songsan area of the Sepho tableland.

A consultative meeting of senior officials of party, state and army was held on the spot.

The participants were briefed on a huge map showing the panoramic view of the field. The meeting discussed the goal of reclaiming grass field in Sepho, Phyonggang and Ichon areas and building stockbreeding base and the issue of providing labor, raw materials and equipment necessary for its reclamation and construction.

The meeting called on all the units to channel efforts into achieving the goal of creating grass field and reclaiming and building stockbreeding base in Sepho, Phyonggang and Ichon areas. The goal reflects the far-reaching plan and unusual wisdom of the Marshal.

Practical issues including the work for keeping the designing ahead of the project and providing raw materials and equipment under a plan were discussed and relevant organization of work was made at the meeting.

The premier, concluding the meeting, called on officials and builders to carry out the behests of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il and certainly realize the noble intention of the Marshal to create the socialist fairyland in Sepho, Phyonggang and Ichon areas.

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Fertilizer imports up to Feb 2014

Friday, March 28th, 2014

According to Yonhap:

The North brought in 13,769 tons of Chinese fertilizer in February, a whopping 13 times more than some 1,064 tons from a year earlier, according to the data compiled by the Korean Rural Economic Institute (KREI).

In the first two months of the year, Pyongyang imported 48,882 tons of Chinese fertilizer, which is far higher than 1,066 tons from the same period a year earlier, the data showed.

“The 2013 figure is unprecedented, as the North used to buy a limited amount in the winter season. It seems to be very proactive in securing fertilizer long ahead of its usual schedule, and that indicates farm output improvement is its top priority,” said KREI researcher Kwon Tae-jin.

In his New Year’s message, the North’s young leader Kim Jong-un stressed boosting food production, saying all efforts “should go for agriculture … in order to build a strong economy and to improve the people’s livelihoods.”

Last year, Pyongyang bought a total of 207,334 tons of fertilizer from China, down by 18 percent from the previous year.

Additional Information:

1. The United Nations and South Korean government have reported that domestic gain production is up in 2013.

2. The DPRK has also increased food imports from China in 2013.

3. Food aid from UN was down in 2013.

4. Food prices fell in last year. DPRK won appreciated in last year.

5. Kim Jong-un’s speech to subworkteam leaders.

6. Previous posts on ‘foood’.

7. Scott Snyder on DPRK-China trade.

Read the full story here:
N. Korea’s fertilizer imports from China soar in Feb.
Yonhap
2014-3-28

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Rice prices falling / won value rising

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

The Daily NK has just updated their very valuable tables of rice prices and exchange rates. Things appear to have improved for the won and for those who have to make purchases with it.

Here is the most recent data on the Won/US$ exchange rate:

 

DPRK-USD-ER-2014-3-24

 

In March 2013 it took approximately W8,700 to buy one US$. Today that number has fallen to as low as W7,300. Most of the won’s gain in value has taken place in the last month.  As of February 2014, the US$ was worth W8,400–meaning the Won/US$ exchange rate has fallen (the currency has appreciated) by appx 13% since then.

Since the Chinese Yuan trades in a narrow band around the US$, the data would look much the same in terms of the Chinese currency.

Of course what remains to be seen is how stable the rate will be going forward.

The Daily NK also offers time series data on the price of rice:

Rice-price-2014-3-24

According to the chart above, the price of a kilo rice has fallen from approximately W6,900 in March of 2013 to W4,000 in March 2014. A fall of 42% in the last year!

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DPRK factories take up sharecropping

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014

According to the Daily NK:

This spring has brought a noticeable increase in the number of North Korean factories and enterprises leasing out parcels of farmland to private individuals, it has emerged.

A source from North Pyongan Province reported the news to Daily NK on the 21st. She explained, “The trend recently has been towards factories leasing out parcels of their farmland. On average they agree to divide up production 70/30, but in cases where lessees have already shown the ability to generate good returns on their own private plots it can be as high as 50/50.”

North Korean factories and firms use land given to them by the state to grow supplementary foodstuffs for employees, such as vegetables for use in side dishes like kimchi. Large ones have dedicated units that manage their farmland full-time, while smaller ones do so on an ad hoc basis.

The lease agreements are being concluded according to not only the capacity of the farmer to generate returns, but also upon which side is to provide inputs such as vinyl coverings and fertilizer, the source went on to reveal. If the majority of the inputs are to come from the factory then the harvest is likely to be divided 70/30 in favor of the factory. If the farmer is making the majority of the investment personally, the division can be as high as 50/50.

“Obviously, anyone who has money is going to prefer a 50/50 split, and people who don’t are going to get 70/30,” the source said. “Factories generally like the 50/50 split more because it means they do not to have to concern themselves with the farming process itself.”

Lessees are in some cases able to secure access to farmland via bribery or human networking, but the source emphasized that the ability to generate a good harvest is what usually matters. “We’ve had private farm plots here for the better part of 20 years now,” she pointed out, “so we know very well who has lots of farming experience and who is hard-working.”

Sources explain that people who are officially registered as members of cooperative farms cannot farm land owned by factories in this way. In general, the ones taking out the leases are either factory workers who know how to farm effectively, or failed traders who have turned to farming other people’s private plots for them.

Importantly, the leasing of land in this way appears to have become official policy. This marks a shift in approach: although cases of similar deals between factories and private individuals started to appear at the beginning of the 2000s, these were illegal which limited their spread. Conversely, the authorities have been focusing heavily on improving the efficiency of the agricultural system for the last 2-3 years, and instances of land rental are now more widespread than ever before.

In an interview with the pro-North Korea publication Choson Sinbo last May, Kim Myong Ho, a 52-year old director in the North Korean Ministry of Light Industry, explained that the government had decided to grant factory and enterprise managers greater authority in order to improve industrial production.

Authority over land owned by individual factories and enterprises rests with factory managers, who decree what is grown, in what quantities, and by whom. Therefore, in the event that managers stipulate that their land is being leased in order to increase production, the leases are acceptable to the state.

“The state directive was that we have to improve production and the management of state firms,” the source commented. “They don’t mind whether this is done by farming the land directly or by leasing it to other people to farm.”

Read the full story here:
Farm Deals Abound as State Pushes for Production
Daily NK
2014-3-22

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DPRK fertilizer imports (2013 – Jan 2014)

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

According to Yonhap:

North Korea’s fertilizer imports from China skyrocketed in January from a year earlier, data showed Tuesday, pointing to Pyongyang’s efforts to increase agricultural output.

The North brought in 35,113 tons of Chinese fertilizer in January, a huge increase from 2 tons from a year earlier, according to the data by the Korea Rural Economic Institute (KREI).

Such an amount is unprecedented for January, as the impoverished communist country used to buy a limited amount of fertilizer in winter, according to KREI experts.

The January figure is also two times bigger than the 17,416 tons for December, according to the data.

“Different from its previous pattern of buying fertilizer in spring, North Korea seems to be taking a very proactive move to secure fertilizer a long time ahead of its usual schedule. This means that the North is putting a priority on improving its farm output,” said KREI researcher Kwon Tae-jin.

It is in line with its leader Kim Jong-un’s policy goal of boosting food production, experts said.

In his New Year’s message, the young leader said all efforts “should go for agriculture … in order to build a strong economy and to improve the people’s livelihoods.”

Last year, Pyongyang bought a total of 207,334 tons of fertilizers from China, down by 18 percent from the previous year.

“This year, the trend is expected to be reversed given the January data and the fact that China has lowered duties,” Kwon added.

Read the full story here:
N. Korea’s fertilizer imports from China soar in Jan.
Yonhap
2014-3-4

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DPRK food situation improves slightly in 2013 / UNWFP donations at low

Friday, February 14th, 2014

According to Yonhap:

The food situation for North Korean people improved slightly last year thanks to increased food rations and more outside support, a report by the World Food Programme (WFP) said Friday.

According to the WFP report, about 46 percent of North Korean families consumed an “acceptable” level of essential nutrients in the October-December period of 2013.

About 17 percent were categorized as having “poor” food consumption, while the rest, about 38 percent, were defined as at the “borderline” level.

The report is based on a WPF survey of 119 North Korean families as well as the food agency’s interviews with North Korean authorities.

The 2013 figures mark a modest improvement from a year ago, when a similar WPF report put only 26 percent of North Koreans in the relatively well-to-do “acceptable” bracket.

About 50 percent were at the “borderline” level, while 24 percent were ranked as “poor” in the report on the food situation in the fourth quarter of 2012.

The better outcome in 2013 is attributable to more generous food rations as well as WFP’s continued nutritive support, the report noted, adding that the daily food rations for each North Korean grew to 390 grams in October last year, before further raising to 400 grams in the following two months.

Fewer North Koreans are expected to suffer food shortages in the first quarter of 2014, the report predicted, citing protein as the most needed nutrient for North Korean citizens.

Although the Yonhap report does NOT cite a source (!?!) I have found it and offer a link below:
Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO) 200532 “Nutrition Support for Children and Women” in DPR Korea (October – December 2013)
UN World Food Program
Other WFP docs can be found here.

At the same time, UN WFP assistance to the DPRK was at an all time low in 2013. According to Yonhap:

North Korea received record-low food aid from the United Nations food agency in 2013 due to sluggish contributions from the international community, a media report said Wednesday.

Some 38,000 tons of food were delivered from the World Food Program (WFP) to the impoverished communist country in 2013, some 30 percent of the agency’s target for the year, according to the Washington-based Radio Free Asia (RFA).

It was less than half the amount sent in the previous year and the smallest since 1996 when the agency began helping the North, the report said, adding it was attributable to the WFP’s failure to raise enough funds to achieve the goal.

The amount of the U.N. agency’s food aid to the North has been fluctuating from some 136,000 tons in 2008, 50,000 tons in 2010, 100,000 tons in 2011 and 84,000 tons in 2012, according to WFP data.

Citing its dark fund-raising prospects in 2014, the WFP told the RFA that most of its factories for producing nutrition biscuits for the people there were on the verge of shutting down in February.

The daily food rations for the people in the North came to some 400 grams per person last year, far lower than the minimum recommended amount of 600 grams and the North Korean regime’s target amount of 573 grams, the WFP said.

North Korea’s food production is estimated to have been at about 5.03 million metric tons in 2013, up 5 percent from the previous year, according to the WFP report posted on its website.

The food security situation, however, is still serious, with 84 percent of all households having borderline or poor food consumption, it added.

The North’s leader Kim Jong-un put an emphasis on food production in his New Year’s message last week, saying “all efforts should go for agriculture … in order to build a strong economy and to improve the people’s livelihoods.”

Read the full stories here:
N. Korea’s food situation better a tad in 2013: WFP
Yonhap
2014-2-14

WFP’s food aid to N. Korea hits all-time low in 2013
Yonhap
2014-1-8

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The status of the cabinet still rising

Sunday, February 9th, 2014

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)
2014-2-9

In this third year of the Kim Jong Un regime, the expanding activities of the Cabinet are drawing much attention. High-level officials of the Cabinet are frequently appearing at public events in North Korea and Kim Jong Un is repeatedly emphasizing the importance of this organ of state power.

North Korean media reported on the February 12th annual mass rally celebrating Kim Jong Un’s Songun leadership at the secret camp in Mount Paektu. The speakers at the event were reportedly Senior Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) Department Deputy (1st vice) Director Choe Hwi, Vice Minister of the People’s Armed Forces Kang Pyo Yong, and Vice Premier Jon Sung Hun.

At the event, Vice Premier Jon delivered a speech and expressed determination to “follow the ideology and policy of our revered leader Kim Jong Un and solidify the monolithic leadership system of the Party in all state economic policy.” In addition, he promised to elevate the status and responsibilities of the Cabinet as “the control tower” of the nation’s economy.

The annual mass rally is held for those to display loyalty to the deceased leader Kim Jong Il (whose birthday is celebrated on February 16). The event is attended by party, state, and military officials. Since Kim Jong Un’s power transition in 2011, it is unprecedented for the North Korean media to cover the speech of the vice premier at this rally.

In addition, a national conference of sub-workteam heads in the agricultural sector (National Conference of Subworkteam Leaders in the Agriculture Sector) opened at the Pyongyang Indoor Stadium from February 6 to 7. At the conference, DPRK Premier of the Cabinet Pak Pong Ju, DPRK Vice Premier and State Planning Commission Chairman Ro Tu Chol, Vice Premier and Minister of Agriculture Ri Chol Man, Vice Premier and Minister of Chemical Industry Ri Mu Yong, and other high-level Cabinet officials were present, demonstrating the rising status of the Cabinet.

In particular, Kim Jong Un sent a letter (“Let Us Bring About Innovations in Agricultural Production under the Unfurled Banner of the Socialist Rural Theses”) to the participants at the conference. In the letter, he stated that “It is essential to enhance the role of the Cabinet and the agricultural guidance organs,” and that the power to make a transformation in agricultural production will depend “largely on the role of the Cabinet and the agricultural guidance organs.”

Furthermore, DPRK Premier Pak is actively conducting onsite inspections of various agricultural and economic related sites. He visited the construction site of the Sepho Tableland on January 29 and made a field survey of the Hwanghae Iron and Steel Complex and Posan Iron Works on February 2.

In a speech in April 2012, Kim Jong Un mentioned plans to strengthen the power of the Cabinet. This policy appears to be ongoing. As North Korea continues to emphasize agriculture as a core economic focus as well as improvement of the lives of the people, the role and the activities of the Cabinet are likely to be reinforced.

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Kim Jong-un’s letter to participants in the National Conference of Agricultural Subworkteam Leaders

Friday, February 7th, 2014

UPDATE (2014-2-26): 38 North has posted an article on Kim’s agriculture speech here.

ORIGINAL POST (2014-2-7): You can download an English-language PDF of the letter here (copied directly from Rodong Sinmun). The bold/underlining was added by me as I read the article. Here is coverage by KCNA.

The speech does not really refer to any “paradigm-changes” in agricultural policy. As usual the emphasis is on raising output by increasing technology inputs and fortifying ideological strength. That being said, the letter does refer to a new policy intended to improve land management:

The subworkteam management system created by the President is an excellent form of production organization and a superior method of management, in that it encourages farmers to take part in production and management as befitting masters with the feeling of attachment to the collective economy. Its advantages have clearly been proved through practice.

By operating the system efficiently as required by the developing reality, the agricultural sector should bring the sense of responsibility and creative zeal of farmers into full play. It should give farmers clear-cut tasks related with soil management, farming operations and production plan and review their results in time and in a substantial way, thus encouraging them all to work in a responsible manner with consciousness and high enthusiasm as befitting masters. Recently a measure has been taken to introduce a field-responsibility-system within the framework of the subworkteam management system so as to inspire farmers with enthusiasm for production. By applying the system correctly in conformity with their actual conditions, cooperative farms should make it prove effective in agricultural production.

I am not the most qualified person to divine meaning from official pronouncements (particularly from the English translation) but this does seem to indicate that efforts have been made to introduce a new “field-responsibility-system”. This appears to be a change in the measurements by which members if a work team are evaluated. Rather than being rewarded for simple output quotas, there are now measurements for soil management and farming operations–coupled with timely and accurate measurement by work team leaders. There is no specific mention of reducing the number of individuals in a work team or other supposed policies associated with the nebulous 6.28 measures.

Interestingly in the very next paragraph, Kim Jong-un highlights one of the most persistent problems in socialist economics: poor labor incentives. He correctly notes that equal distributions to the workers irrespective of effort and quality will create unmotivated workers and production will fall. He notes that hard/effective work should be rewarded:

What is important in operating the subworkteam management system is to strictly abide by the socialist principle of distribution. Equalitarianism in distribution has nothing to do with the socialist principle of distribution and has a harmful effect of diminishing farmers’ enthusiasm for production. Subworkteams should assess the daily work-points of their members accurately and in good time according to the quantity and quality of the work they have done. And they should, as required by the socialist principle of distribution, share out their grain yields to their members mainly in kind according to their work-points after counting out the amounts set by the state. The state should define reasonable amounts of grains for compulsory delivery on the basis of accurate calculation of the country’s demand for grains, interests of farmers and their demands for living, thereby ensuring that they make redoubled efforts with confidence.

This, however, is basically a restatement of official policy. The state gets first claim on the output, the farmers fight for the leftovers….

Here is coverage in the Daily NK.

Addendum: Here is KCNA (2014-2-11) on the origins of subworkteam units:

Subworkteam Management System in DPRK

Pyongyang, February 11 (KCNA) — The national conference of subworkteam leaders in the agricultural sector was held successfully in the DPRK.

The conference underscored the need for the subworkteam leaders to bring into full play the advantages of the subworkteam management system, in order to carry out the theses on the socialist rural question in the country.

The subworkteam management system created by President Kim Il Sung is an excellent form of production organization and a good method of management which encourages farmers to take part in production and management in a responsible manner, attaching themselves to the collective economy.

One day in May Juche 54 (1965), Kim Il Sung went to Phochon-ri, Hoeyang County, Kangwon Province.

There he acquainted himself with farming, living conditions and management situation of workteams and subworkteams of the farm.

As workteam leaders had many people to deal with and many things to do, they were unable to properly manage manpower and production of their workteams.

Evaluation on labor was mostly done in an equal way, failing to enhance farmers’ production zeal.

That was the reason for low grain yield in the farm.

The same was true for other farms.

On the basis of deep analysis of the farm’s situation, he found out that the subworkteam management system was suitable for group’s working, instead of the workteam management system.

He saw to it that the subworkteam management system was introduced first in some co-op farms in Kangwon and other provinces.

Then, at the 12th Plenary Meeting of the 4th Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea held in November Juche 54 (1965), he took measures to apply it to all other co-op farms throughout the country.

With the introduction of the system, the guidance and management system over the socialist rural communities was orderly established from grassroots units to state-level organs, which served as an impetus to bringing about upsurge in agricultural production.

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Mongolia ratifies cooperation agreement with DPRK

Friday, February 7th, 2014

According to Xinhua:

The Mongolian government ratified a cooperation agreement Friday with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in the areas of industry and agriculture.

Under the agreement, Mongolia will provide livestock husbandry support to the DPRK and, in return, the DPRK will develop light industry using raw materials and resources of Mongolia, such as sheep wool and coal.

The agreement was finalized during a visit by Battulga Khaltmaa, Mongolian minister of industry and agriculture, to the DPRK last October.

Both countries hope the deal will expand reciprocal economic ties between the two countries.

Mongolia is rumored to be involved with the DPRK’s Sepho Tableland project.

Read the full story here:
Mongolia ratifies cooperation agreement with DPRK
Xinhua
2014-2-7

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North Korea’s ‘New Economic Management System’: Main Features and Problems

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

Korea Focus
Park Hyeong-jung
Senior Research Fellow
Korea Institute for National Unification

Here is the summary/assessment:

The objective of the New Economic Management System in North Korea is the building of an “unplanned socialist economy,” or something similar to the “socialist commodity economy” China implemented between 1984 and 1992. Agricultural, industrial and financial measures that North Korea is trying to introduce along with the installation and expansion of special development zones under the New Economic Management System are mutually connected and therefore need to be simultaneously implemented.

North Korea has the conceptual blueprints for each economic measure and its leadership includes individuals who are interested in promoting the areas where they are specialized. However, the country apparently lacks the capabilities to create the proper economic and political conditions for these measures. Against this backdrop, production increase and overall economic growth cannot be expected and confusion would intensify.

North Korea had not made sufficient preparations economically and politically before the introduction of the New Economic Management System. Introduction of new measures inevitably affects the interests of those who had been active under the old system. Transitional imbalance may arise in the process of putting the new system into practice. Reserve resources are necessary to address such problems.

The sub-unit management system in the agricultural sector showed how the reform effort can be stymied. This new system spurs independent efforts of farmers and stimulates their motivation for production increase but it invited the resistance of agricultural bureaucrats. When the state and farmers begin to share products by a ratio of 7:3 instead of the previous ratio of 9:1, imbalance will emerge somewhere in the distribution of farm products. Reserve resources are necessary for such a sudden change. The same is expected of the industrial management system. Factory enterprises were given autonomous operation rights but the new system did not result in production increase. Reserve resources are needed here, too.

The new policy under the Kim Jong-un rule lacked consistency and often exposed zigzagging directions. Officials responsible for the implementation of the new policy were unable to win over dissenters and failed to secure reserve resources needed to overcome the material imbalance in the transition period.

Eventually, the management reform at factory enterprises and experiments with sub-units in farming areas were virtually abandoned. The sub-unit management failed because of resistance from agricultural bureaucrats, the authorities` unease about relaxation of peasant control and uncertainty about the food security for the privileged class. The sub-unit management system most seriously threatened the stockpiling of food grain for the military and the power elite. It is certain that the military was the biggest opponent to the new agricultural management system.

The New Economic Management System accompanied policies that reduced the privileged role of the military in the economy. Similar problems were certainly exposed in the reform of industrial and financial management, such as non-cooperation from the privileged group, concerns about loosening control of workers and managers, and lack of guarantees for special interests.

Yet, the sub-unit management in farms and increased autonomy of factory enterprises were not entirely meaningless. Interestingly, some in North Korea`s leadership believed that the sub-unit system with incentives to individual farmers was necessary despite many problems attached to the farmers` self-interests. Although it was not successfully implemented, it did help farmers gain more independence from state control.

The unavoidable trend of changes in the North calls for systemic reforms like the sub-unit management just as youths grow up to become adults and then to the middle age. The problem is how to operate the changed system to achieve production increase. To be successful, those in the North Korean leadership who advocate the New Economic Management System should be able to politically suppress those opposing it or win them over economically by assuring them of the distribution of surplus. What has happened to date shows that the new system has failed to make much progress in that direction.

Concerning the projects of building special economic development zones, similar problems have been detected. The Workers` Party Central Committee decided in a plenary meeting in March 2013 to take measures to diversify foreign trade, develop new tourist zones, and build special economic zones suitable for the specific conditions of each province. The Economic Zones Development Act was enacted in May and, as of October 2013, each province is boosting efforts to attract foreign investment and create new economic development zones.

The concept of special economic development zone can be defined as conforming to the “unplanned socialist economy” or the “socialist commodity economy.” But the success of special economic zones needs the three steps that were required to tackle the problems faced by the sub-unit farm management and the autonomous operations of factory enterprises as observed above.

MY NOTES:

This paper is the most comprehensive assessment of the origination and implementation of the DPRK’s “June 28″ policies.

The author classifies the June 28 policies as an attempt to transform the DPRK from a system composed of KWP rule + decentralized reform + state ownership of production means to KWP rule + coexistence of market and planned economies + state ownership of production means. This state is called “socialist commodity economy” or “unplanned socialist economy”. The transition involves moving management to enterprises and farms where production is carried out on the basis of contract and state planning.

The plan was carried out by a group under the cabinet led by Ro Tu-chol.

ENTERPRISE SECTOR:
* No more production quotas/Enterprises make own plans and profit distribution
* Raw materials are traded firm to firm via “direct supply centers” (intended to provide nominal state oversight of firm-to-firm transactions)
* Enterprise officials appointed/fired by KWP
*30% profit tax

AGRICULTURE SECTOR
*70/30 split of output (previously state took fixed share regardless of output)
*Smaller collective farm sub ubits
*Smaller private plots and kitchen gardens.

FOOD MANAGEMENT:
*PDS do be abolished but increased control of markets
*Government employees (teachers/doctors) to buy food at “food supply centers” (where all food producers sell supplies).
*military personnel are to buy food at subsidized/fixed price
*”Independent accounting enterprises” (August 3rd?) employees are to be paid in cash and buy food. Enterprises still controlled by state to get rations.

Stephan Haggard wrote about the paper here and here.

All posts on the June 28 policy can be found here.

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