No More Hoarding Grain

Daily NK
Jung Kwon Ho

Hoarding grain, a major way for general farmers to substitute for the lack of public provisions, was barely possible during the latter-half of last year in Hwanghae Province, the breadbasket of North Korea, according to a source inside the country.

The source from South Hwanghae Province said, “It has become more difficult to hoard grains because the number of security guards on farms since late last year, and monthly house searches by the Province and counties, has made it much more difficult. The punishment for hoarding grain was strengthened; now hoarders are sent to long term reeducation camps.”

Hoarding grain has become a main tool for survival among general farmers since public provision has not been supplied consistently, if at all, in recent years.

Farmers steal grains right before harvest from the storage. From the perspective of the North Korean authorities it is stealing, but it is a lifeline for the people.

The average amount of hoarded grain was more than 20 kilograms in the past, but there were some households in Hwanghae Province that obtained one ton or more of grain. After that, the authorities’ countermoves became fiercer.

The source reported, “Now, farmers complain that it turns out that only guards can openly hoard grain.”

He explained that, “Farmers should receive a years wages according to their labor, but in reality the authorities exclude many parts of it for many reasons, so they can get merely 200,000 North Korean won, which is around three or four months living costs in North Korea.”

He added, “More than half the farmers eat porridge with floury corn and dried vegetables. In the situation where there are no provisions from the state, houses in which the whole family commits suicide can be found.”

Meanwhile, there is a rumor that 15-days’ rations will be distributed in regions of South Pyongan Province in February or March.


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