[From time to time CanKor alerts readers to papers published by our partner-site 38North. The following article is authored by CanKor Brain Trust member Randall Ireson , private consultant on rural and agricultural development issues. Please follow our link to this article on the 38North site. –CanKor]
Despite continuing food shortages in the DPRK, the 2012 New Year’s Joint Editorial and other statements related to the succession of Kim Jong Un suggest there will be no new approaches to revitalizing North Korean agriculture. The editorial labeled the food problem “a burning issue in building a thriving country,”  but allocated fewer than 150 words (of 5500) to that issue, only exhorting the masses to increase yields, implement crop rotations, and increase production of farm machinery and farm inputs.
Yet agriculture could lead a revival of the DPRK economy if appropriate policy changes were implemented. The technical means of improving farm production in the DPRK have been known for years. And if farms could use income earned from increased production to purchase improved machinery and other supplies needed for modern agriculture, a virtuous circle of investment in the farms plus support to small industry could lead to the modernization of both sectors. Government investment combined with some international assistance could stimulate sustainable increases in productivity and better incomes for workers on the farms and in related industries. Read the rest of this entry »