Blueberry harvest a growing source of foreign currency for the state
The blueberry harvest season has arrived in North Korea and is generating intense competition between ordinary residents and government officials tasked with bringing in foreign currency, sources in the country say.
Many local North Koreans are busily harvesting blueberries despite the intense heat in the Samjiyon area of Ryanggang Province, and government officials are trying to make as much money as possible.
Foreign currency traders are buying blueberries picked by locals at the bottom of mountains and trucking them away to factories for processing. Fights sometimes break out between traders and pickers when the traders try to cheat on harvest estimates.
“The traders measure the blueberries harvested just by sight and force the pickers to accept these estimates,” a source in Ryanggang Province told Daily NK on August 14.
“The traders try to cheat the pickers by telling them that they will ‘get the blueberries tomorrow’ if there are too many sellers and that ‘those that want to sell their harvest must do it now for a cheap price.’” ......