(Reference Photo) Farmers belong to the lowest social stratum. The regime and farm officials have long exploited rural workers for their benefit. (South Pyongan Province. Taken by Kim Dong-cheol/ June/2010) ASIAPRESS



There seems no prospect for the betterment of farmers struggling to make ends meet in North Korea. The photo (below/above?) shows farmers working in a cornfield. They told us that they were sowing beans and corn. Taken by Kim Dong-cheol (ASIAPRESS) in South Pyongan Province, June 2010.

ASIAPRESS received reports from various parts of North Korea that members of collective farms responsible for producing the dietary staples of ordinary North Koreans are suffering from extreme deprivation. ASIAPRESS has been investigating the situation of collective farms in the northern areas from early summer. Our reporting partners informed us that the collective farms are largely overgrown because the starving farmers don’t have the energy needed to take care of them. The following are reports by reporting partners inside North Korea. (Kang Ji-won)
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Reporting partner, ‘A,’ living close to Hoeryong City in North Hamkyung Province, reported as follows: “In July, a couple and their daughter died after eating grass porridge as a substitute for actual food at xx collective farm in Hoeryong. It is not known whether they committed suicide or were poisoned by the porridge. The corpses were found when the family didn’t show up for work at the farm. The farm itself is covered with weeds because people are too weak to work.”

Another reporting partner, ‘B,’ reported from North Hamkyung Province, in late July, on the deteriorating situation: “A woman in her 50s was found dead in her home. She lived alone as her son was conscripted into the military and her daughter lived with her husband. Locals said that since June she had been living on corn borrowed from the head of the residents’ cell. Investigators found no food in her home except corn rice. The cell leader who lent her rice is also under investigation. Villagers explained that the woman hadn’t been into work for several days and they suspected she had died of starvation.” 

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