Citizen Mobilization Kicks Off Early

Daily NK
Jung Kwon Ho

According to sources within North Korea, citizens have been mobilized to produce fertilizer and ordered to submit scrap materials for use by the state in an attempt to bring to fruition the New Year’s Statement, in which light industry and agriculture were promoted as the main frontiers for development in 2010.

One source from North Hamkyung Province told The Daily NK on the 3rd, “The first battle of this year began on the 2nd of January. A decree was issued, stating that each adult resident has to provide 50 kilograms of fertilizer to surrounding farms.”

He went on, “Middle school students of 11 and above have to provide 30 kilograms of fertilizer to their school, and any senior citizen over the age of 60 has to provide 30 kilograms of fertilizer to their neighborhood office. This fertilizer production battle will continue until the end of March”.

This is an unusual duration, the source explained, “The annual fertilizer production battle is normally completed on February 15th, but this year the authorities are emphasizing the importance of agriculture and, as a result, declared the completion date to be the end of March.”

“The production of fertilizer is an annual event, however, its target volume and duration has doubled. The lack of available fertilizer has already initiated competition between workplaces to secure access to public toilets and dumping grounds.”

A different source in Yangkang Province explained how things were being done there, “Middle school students over the age of 15 up to adults under the age of 60 have to provide fertilizer privately to surrounding farms by sled. Students from 1st to 3rd grade in middle school and senior citizens over the age of 60 have to provide the fertilizer to a neighborhood location designated by municipal committees of the Party.”

According to the same source, the temperature in Hyesan was -26C on the 2nd when workers from each workplace and factory, and residents of people’s units, assembled in the square in front of the Kim Jong Suk Art Hall to transport the fertilizer by sled to nearby farms in Chun-dong, Geomsan-dong and Wun-dong, and to Hwajeon Cooperative Farm, causing problems.

The source explained that the farms were up to 16 kilometers away, so, “Numerous people suffered from frostbite during the transfer.”

In addition to production of fertilizer, each workplace and organization received instructions to submit scrap metal, paper, rubber and vinyl. On this topic, the source commented, “Residents are making a hoo-ha about the requirement to submit unused materials for light industry like scrap metals. During the vacation in January, each middle school student is supposed to produce fertilizer and provide ten kilograms of scrap metal plus five kilograms of scrap paper and rubber to a designated depot. When such tasks are completed, the student gets a certificate from the depot and then has to show it to school.”

The source concluded, “Residents are already concerned about the possibility of increased compulsory mobilization even worse than that for the 150-Day Battle last year.”


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