Increase in North Korea-manufactured products driving domestic growth
North Korea can now produce a considerable amount of food and light industrial products. This is the result of the country’s move toward practical policies like giving farms and enterprises some degree of autonomy, a Seoul-based North Korea analyst argues.
“The products North Korea produces are still limited to food and light industrial products, but the increase in domestic production means that the country’s agricultural capacity is playing a fundamental role,” said Korea Institute of National Unification (KINU) analyst Jeong Euni (pictured above) during an interview with Daily NK.
“North Korea’s increase in domestic production cannot be explained exclusively by an influx of external source materials […] The internal driver of all this may be the ‘pojon damdangje’ (literally, ‘vegetable garden responsibility system,’ also known as the field management system) and the Socialist Enterprise Responsibility System,” Jeong added.
Pojon damdangje was an agricultural reform measure that shifted autonomy over agricultural products from the smallest units at cooperative farms to family units. North Korea also introduced the Socialist Corporate Responsibility Management System, which provided some degree of autonomy to enterprises in regards to production and distribution.
“These systems are having a considerable impact,” said Jeong.
“China also saw an increase in production from agricultural reforms when it began reforms and opening in the late 1970s, and now North Korea appears to be following in China’s footsteps.”
Jong also talked about the changes in North Korea she witnessed when she recently visited the Sino-DPRK border region. She saw a huge increase in newly-constructed apartments in the region near Hyesan and other cities, and said that this suggests that North Korea’s real estate market is burgeoning.
“I saw newly constructed apartments and evidence of reconstruction [in the area], and even improvements made to farmhouses,” Jeong recalled.
“North Korea does not have clear laws pertaining to the sale of ownership or the construction of houses by individuals, but it appears the country is moving to legalize all of this given the implementation of market-friendly policies.” ......