◆ Keeping watch over excrement at public toilets

On January 25, a reporting partner from Ryanggang Province said the following about the particularly difficult "compost battle" this year.

“The compost production quota directed from above is 2 tons for employed people, 1.5 tons for dependents, and 500 kg for full-time housewives (these figures are similar for residents of North Hamgyong Province). We have been told to meet our quotas no matter what. Neighborhood political units are in charge of keeping watch at public toilets to prevent theft.”

Employees are each told to bring compost made at home to work. As it's so difficult to meet the quota, there are people who will sell their own compost to others. The reporting partner says:

“The selling price of 500 kilos of compost is 80 Chinese yuan (about South Korean 13,670 won). Last year, more than 70% of people bought the compost rather than making it themselves, but this year less than 10% can afford to buy it due to coronavirus. Everyone is making it themselves.”

If, due to special circumstances, it is impossible to take part in the compost battle, they say you must pay fuel costs for compost made in the city to be transported to the countryside.

◆ Officials take the initiative

This year's "compost battle" is an interesting phenomenon. Officials are taking the lead. "Some party officials are even pulling carts of compost to work themselves,” the reporting partner says.

At the party conference, Kim Jong-un repeatedly urged officials to take the lead and emphasized that corruption would not be tolerated. With the organization overseeing local management stepping into high gear, officials are becoming nervous.

The reporting partner gave the following context for the ‘compost battle’, explaining, “As much as these patronizing officials say they are proud and boast of doing well, they are inflexible and putting immense pressure on us to produce more compost. Some people are even turning to stealing compost.”

※ ASIAPRESS contacts its reporting partners in North Korea through smuggled Chinese mobile phones.

Editor’s notes on North Korean reporters

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