North Korea expanding farming areas

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)
NK Brief No.10-07-30-1

North Korean media outlets are reporting large-scale development of tidelands as part of ongoing economic projects. There have been reports on a land reclamation project in the tideland area of Daekye-do, in North Pyongan Province, that was completed on June 30. The Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) and the Workers’ Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun both ran stories on July 1 stating that the Central Committee of the Workers Party sent a letter of congratulations to the construction workers and supporters of the project, calling it, “A massive project of reclaiming Mother Nature, no less significant than the construction of the West Sea Flood Gates.”

The project, completed at the end of last month, reclaimed tideland in North Pyongan Province from Dasa-do, off the coast of Yeomju and Cholsan villages, to Kacha-do, Soyondong-do, Daekye-do, Tokye-do, and the Cholsan peninsula. It comprises 13.7 km of shoreline and more than 87 million square meters of land.

On July 22, the Choson Sinbo reported that North Korea planned to reclaim more than 59.9 million square meters or farm land by the end of 2012. The story also noted that the second phase of the land reclamation project in North Pyongan Province was in full swing, and that the first phase of a second project around Ryongmae-do, South Hwanghae Province, was scheduled to be completed by 2012.

The massive Daekye-do project completed at the end of June would be more than 10 times the size of Seoul’s Yeoui-do area, with more than two thirds of the area being reclaimed land. As background for the article, the newspaper explained, “As one way to expand crop production in [North Korea], the focus is being placed on the expansion of farmland through tideland reclamation.”

Related to this, the KCNA reported on July 15 that Kim Jong Il had visited the Daekye-do project, and said, “Land reclamation is an important project in the nation’s rich and powerful development.” Such a statement is tantamount to ordering the expansion of reclamation activities. Kim Jong Il also called for focusing national interest on difficult and massive reclamation projects to be carried out in the future, demanding that “policies necessary to support these projects must be thoroughly implemented.”

It was reported that Kim expressed ‘extreme satisfaction’ over the successfully completed Daekye-do project. After inspecting the area, he stated that the reclaimed farm land needed to be used “to full effect,” while at the same time more land reclamation projects should be carried out in order to completely resolve the North’s food shortage. North Korean media reported that Kim Jong said, “What is important here is to continue strongly extending the land reclamation project.” The KCNA also reported that North Korean state authorities, Party and Cabinet ministers, and supervisors from central government agencies accompanied Kim Jong Il on his tour of the Daekye-do land reclamation site.

On July 4, Korea Central Television (KCTV) reported, “Power plants throughout the country produced 1.2 times more electricity in the first half of this year than they did last year,” and the KCNA emphasized increased production in a number of factories, stating that compared to production plans, “In the Bakchon Silk Factory, rug production was 101%, regular cloth production was 107%, and ramie cloth liner production was 130%” of production quotas. In addition, “Along with the Pyongyang Daily Goods Factory production increase of 120%, the Nampo Glorious Soldier Shoe Factory, Hyeechon Silk Factory, Pyongyang Textile Factory and others are all meeting production goals.”


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