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North Korea Likely to Start Household-based Arable System in March

North Korea Likely to Start Household-based Arable System in March

Posted January. 03, 2005 22:46,   


North Korea, in an effort to enhance the productivity of collective farms, has decided to implement agricultural reform policies in March or April that would divide the current group unit into a group of two or three households.

If this policy is to approve de-facto family farming in North Korea, the first phase of the socialistic agriculture reform that China had implemented in 1978 will start again in the hermit kingdom, experts said.

North Korea provided collective farm members private arable land beside common arable and let them cultivate the lands. This private arable system was introduced nationwide last year as a pilot project.

“This year, North Korea decided to start a household-based arable system nationwide which would group two or three household a single unit,” said a Chinese high-ranking official source Monday.

North Korea has prepared for this system since late last month, and basic content of the new system was already distributed to working-level officers, including agriculture management committees of each province, the source said.

According to the source, the new system would be revised or some detailed parts added in consideration of regional differences of each province, and if this is done early, the system will be adopted nationwide at the final determination of the Agricultural Ministry.

And each collective farm has not received any orders yet, so that North Korean people are not aware of contents of this new arable system.

“When a single unit composed of two or three households in close relationship such as relatives, private or household farming in disguise of collective farming is possible,” explained Professor Yang Moon-su at the graduate school of North Korean Studies.

“North Korea intends to carry out a large scale reform based on a new group management system adopted in 1996, and by reducing the number of members to 10 and using the selfishness of family, they try to increase productivity,” analyzed Professor Nam Sung-wuk of North Korea studies at Korea University.

In its New Year joint editorial published on January 1, 2005, North Korea said that this year the main goal of establishing a socialistic economy would be agriculture, and people should focus all their capacity on farming to get the best output.

Suk-Ho Shin zsh75@donga.com kyle@donga.com