Personal Farming Up Amid Bunjo Doubts

first_imgNewsEconomy Facebook Twitter Kang Mi JinKang Mi JinKang Mi Jin is a North Korean defector turned journalist who fled North Korea in 2009. She has a degree in economics and writes largely on marketization and economy-related issues for Daily NK. Questions about her articles can be directed to [email protected] While the North Korean authorities continueto push the bunjo [cooperative farm production unit] system,residents, on the other hand, are largely focusing on cultivating individualplots. According to sources within the country, this is because after failingto see the increased allotment of production under the nascent system,discontent with the state’s hollow promises has spread rapidly among thepopulation.“As preparations for spring cultivation arein full swing, people feel that individual farming is far more of a prioritythan collective farming. It’s a major shift from last year,” a source from Yangkang Province reported to Daily NK on April 13th.“With spring upon us, more households are facingdecreased food supplies, so groups of residents have been gathering together tocommiserate and mull over the matter together.” North Korea stipulated in its “June 28th Measures,” announced in 2012,plans for the state to establish a “new economicmanagement system in its own style.” Under the newsystem, production units on cooperative farms shrank from groups of 10to 25, to smaller factions [pojeon] of 4 to 6 members. The statereceives 70% of the target production, with farmers taking 30% and any surplusif targets are exceeded.However, the source asserted thatcollective farm workers feel that “nothing has changed,” despite toiling under the bunjo system in anticipation ofmore food to take home. Many point out that the state exploited theconcentrated efforts by “taking a larger portion of theharvest for itself.” This unfortunate conclusion, then,has compelled many to focus their efforts on yielding the best harvest possiblethrough individual farming instead.Two consecutive years of shortcomingsunderpin this movement. Allotment per worker on a collective farm last year inYangkang Province should have been 187kg of the harvest; the actual allocation,however, came to merely 90kg — less than half of the promised amount. In 2013,the government had announced that workers were to receive 174kg, but eachperson received only 60kg.“As the state fails year after year todistribute a fare share to the workers, motivation among collectivefarmers continues to decline,” he explained, addingthat the high hopes the bunjo system once instilled in people have largelyfizzled out, only to be replaced with more misgivings.He went on to say that the state’s failureshave given way to a population that “no longer believes in statepolicies,” and is fully aware that the state “simply hides behindexcuses of ‘aid to the military, shortfalls of production targets, andpurchasing seeds for the next harvest’” to explain away its brokenpromises. “We’re not going to be fooled again this year,” the sourcenoted.“Even the Party members who are categorizedas the the farms’ core members are encouraging personalfarming, saying, ‘You have to be able to make ends meetbefore you show loyalty to the Party,’” he said. “Younger people havejoked that the slogan–reading ‘Farming Above All Else!’– plastered on thefront of the agricultural propaganda and management committee facilities– wouldbe more realistic if it were preceded by ‘individual.’” *The content of this article was broadcast to the North Korean people via Unification Media Group. RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR SHARE North Korea Market Price Update: June 8, 2021 (Rice and USD Exchange Rate Only) US dollar and Chinese reminbi plummet against North Korean won once again center_img News Proposal to shift “general markets” to “specialized markets” finds little support among N. Korean leaders By Kang Mi Jin – 2015.04.15 4:12pm News News Personal Farming Up Amid Bunjo Doubtslast_img read more