South Korean rice for sale in North Korea’s markets as inspections ease
Rice labeled with South Korea as the place of origin is being openly sold in North Korea’s markets. The bags are clearly labelled ‘Republic of Korea’ and bear the name of the district in South Korea where it was grown, according to sources inside the country.
“In front of a vendor stall, there’s a sign that reads ‘Rice from the plains of Honam’. It means the rice is from South Korea,” a source in North Pyongan Province told Daily NK. Honam is the largest rice-growing region in South Korea and North Korean merchants are openly displaying the name.
“Republic of Korea is written on the rice bags and they also state whether they’re from Seoul or the rural areas. Rumors usually precede the arrival of South Korean rice in the market, which happens occasionally,” said the source.
However, it has yet to be confirmed whether the South Korean rice circulating in North Korea’s markets is actually from the South. Some merchants may simply be trying to make more money by falsely claiming the place of origin, as products from South Korea are often preferred.
“It’s more expensive than rice from China, but 400 won cheaper than rice from North Korea,” said the source.
As of July 15 in one market in North Pyongan Province, North Korean rice was being sold for 4800 won per kilo, while South Korean rice was at 4400 won, and Chinese rice at 4150 won. ......