The North Korean authorities have recently ordered agricultural mobilization to occur 10 days before the traditional start date across the nation. Residents are said to be in a state of confusion about the sudden change.
The “rice-planting battle” is already underway in some parts of North Korea, requiring enterprise workers and students to contribute manual labor for 40 days at collective farms, regardless of their circumstances.
"The national rice planting battle started in North and South Hwanghae Provinces and South Pyongan Province on May 10. As the Party handed down instructions to 'concentrate all resources into farming,' the factory workers, students, and even housewives are all being mobilized for the 'battle of agricultural support,'" a source in South Pyongan Province told Daily NK on May 14.
"The heads of the district administrative bodies and the people’s units visit each household every morning, shouting, 'Those who are eating must all come out for the rice planting battle.' High school students and factory workers are required to attend collective farms for 40 days, while housewives commute to nearby farms each morning.”
The North Korean authorities designate a number of agricultural support periods throughout the farming season: rice planting and weeding in May and June, and harvesting periods in September and October, mobilizing even the youngest students as well as adults for work. However, rice sowing has begun 10 days earlier than usual, allegedly due to higher average temperatures attributable global warming.