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N. Korean farmers show mixed reactions to tractors gifted by Kim Jong Un

After North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sent tractors to towns and counties in Yanggang Province to boost potato production, there have been mixed reactions from farm workers in the province. Some workers welcomed the tractors, while others complained that it was pointless to send tractors without providing enough fuel.

“The Marshal’s [i.e. Kim Jong Un’s] tractors were recently distributed to farms in towns and counties in Yanggang Province, including Samjiyon and Taehongdan County. Some farmers were happy to see the tractors, but a considerable number were not,” a source in Yanggang Province told Daily NK on Tuesday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

According to the source, an event to celebrate the delivery of Kim’s tractors to cities and counties in Yanggang Province was held at the square in front of the Yanggang Provincial Theater on Mar. 4, after which the tractors were taken to farms in various parts of the province, including Samjiyon and Taehongdan, Paegam and Unhung counties.

Some farm workers welcomed the delivery of the tractors, noting that this year’s farm work would not be as tiring as in previous years.

But other workers were more skeptical. “The tractors won’t really help much if they don’t provide the fuel we need to keep them running,” one remarked.

Farms in Yanggang Province, North Korea’s main potato growing area, often cannot do much with tractors, if they have them at all, because of a lack of parts and fuel. As a result, the source explained, farm workers have often used oxen or simply done all the work by hand.

“Farm workers are obviously happy to get tractors, but it’s hard to get very excited when fuel is scarce. Fuel is essential if tractors are to be used for agricultural work,” the source said.

The source quoted a farmer in Taehongdan County as saying: “Although Taehongdan is the largest potato-producing area in Yanggang Province, fuel isn’t widely available, so we mostly rely on manual labor for farming. Unless they provide fuel, the tractors won’t be much help, and the same goes for other farms.

A farm worker in Kapsan County shared his mixed feelings as follows. “Machinery is useless if there’s no fuel for it, and no one has said anything about sending us fuel. So the first thing that came to my mind is that these tractors will make the farm workers work even harder. It makes me shudder to think how they’re going to drive us like beasts of burden to repay the Marshal’s love.”

Stressful gifts

Since the tractors were delivered, the farm workers have looked noticeably more stressed because of the pressure to produce results, the source said.

“The basic goal [of the tractor delivery] is to make a revolution in potato farming. So the farm workers are already worried about being blamed or even punished if the farm’s output doesn’t increase,” the source said.

The farm workers have every reason to be worried because they are supposed to use Kim’s tractors to increase agricultural production, but they have little chance of doing so in any significant way given the shortage of fertilizer and everything else needed for farming, the source explained.

“Since no fuel supply orders have been issued yet, it remains to be seen how helpful the delivered tractors will be on the farm this year. Farmers are hoping they’ll get some fuel this year, as it would make their work a little easier,” the source said.

The Rodong Sinmun reported on Mar. 6 that Kim Jong Un had sent powerful tractors to towns and counties throughout Yanggang Province and that a delivery ceremony had been held for officials and workers in the province.

Translated by David Carruth. Edited by Robert Lauler. 

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Read in Korean

March 21, 2024 at 11:30AM

by DailyNK(North Korean Media)

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