Kim Jong Un Calls for ‘Radical Change’ in North Korean Agriculture

Recently, the South Korean Ministry of Unification, in charge of ties with the North, pointed out that the food situation in the neighboring country seemed to be worsening, with reports of deaths from starvation in some regions. Kim Jong Un, North Korea's leader, has called for a “radical change” in agricultural production in order to address the country's food crisis.[0]

Kim, who is treated with reverence in official media, convened an “urgent” party meeting to discuss North Korean agriculture and emphasized the importance of stable agricultural production during the second day of the seventh enlarged plenary meeting of the 8th Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea on Monday.[1] He expressed his determination to bring about a revolutionary turn in agricultural production without fail, adding that “nothing is impossible as long as the strong leadership system is established in the whole Party and there is the united might of all the people.”[0]

It is estimated that somewhere between 240,000 and 3.5 million people perished during the 1990s famine in North Korea, which has had a long history of food insecurity. And fears within the country are growing that North Korea could face the biggest food shortages since the Nineties.

Experts say the current food shortages were triggered by a combination of poor harvests and extreme weather, as well as lockdowns and reduced trade with China during the COVID-19 pandemic. Kim's remarks come amid concerns that the food situation is deteriorating in North Korea, one of the world’s poorest and most isolated countries.

Kim said hitting grain production targets this year was a top priority and emphasized the importance of stable agriculture production.[2] He also called for a “fundamental transformation” in agricultural production and said officials should concentrate on meeting grain production targets “without fail”, increasing yields at all farms and eradicating “internal factors that have [a] negative effect on the development of agriculture”.

North Korea is under strict international sanctions over its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, and these have exacerbated the food shortages in the country. According to a report from the monitoring website 38 North last month, North Korea is currently undergoing its most severe food insecurity since the massive famine of almost three decades ago.

Kim's call to dramatically change agricultural production in the country is viewed as an effort to tackle the food crisis and ensure the food security of his people.

0. “Kim Jong Un: North Korea needs ‘radical change' to boost food production” UPI News, 28 Feb. 2023,

1. “Kim Jong-un calls urgent talks to prevent North Korean famine” The Times, 28 Feb. 2023,

2. “North Korea's Kim calls for increase in grain production in key meeting” Kyodo News Plus, 2 Mar. 2023,

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