Friday, March 06, 2009

North Korean Agriculture

The Post has an interesting article on North Korea, much of it on food. North Korea makes an interesting test case for theories on food and famine and economics. It turns out the international food aid has greased the way for free enterprise--North Korean bigshots grab the aid and sell it on the open market, encouraging the powerful and connected to support markets. But that doesn't do much for encouraging private agriculture (which isn't much discussed in the article).

North Korean is reverting back to organic fertilizer, i.e., night soil, since they've lost their access to chemical fertilizers which they were very dependent on, but is struggling to feed its population. (That surprised me--I would have assumed their agriculture was not that modernized, but I guess collective farms must have adopted chemical fertilizers.) So, my prejudices are reinforced, private "industrial" ag is the way to go to feed people, at least in today's world.

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