Pyongyang tour reveals massive wealth gap for North Korean farmers – H Talk Asia

North Korea rewarded this year’s best farmers with a once-in-a-lifetime tour of Pyongyang, but the farmers returned from their trip outraged at how they were made to live in relative misery compared to the capital’s residents, sources in the country said with RFA.

Only the most privileged members of North Korean society are allowed to live in Pyongyang, and most North Koreans can only dream of ever visiting, so being selected for the tour is considered a great honor.

“The farmers who visited Pyongyang said they were jealous that Pyongyang residents get better food rations, live in good houses with bright lights, and ride around on buses and subways in smart clothes,” said a resident of Unjon County in the northwestern province of North Pyongan RFA’s Korean service on condition of anonymity for security reasons.

Farmers wondered why they should work so hard to increase production just to give Pyongyang a better life, the source said.

“Pyongyang residents enjoy all kinds of benefits that rural residents don’t get just because they are citizens of the capital. Therefore, the peasants are angry that the authorities stress that they must support the country, but the fruits of their labor will only be used to take care of Pyongyang residents,” he said.

According to the source, the farmer’s excursion to Pyongyang, hosted by the Union of Rural Workers of Korea, has been held during the agricultural off-season every year since 1985.

The association invites the farmers who have achieved the highest yields and exemplary farmers recommended by cooperative farms. You’ll get the honor of seeing the city’s main museums, zoo, circus theater and Kumsusan Palace of the Sun — the final resting place of state founder Kim Il Sung, the source says.

“Most of the farmers who live in the rural areas of the provinces have never been to Pyongyang. Everyone wants to go on a field trip to Pyongyang,” he said.

For the past few years, the government has footed the bill for the tour, but now it’s so tight on funds that each farmer has to shell out 200,000 won (about US$24), so some of the farmers selected for the tour have refused to go .

“Authorities expect farmers to vigorously innovate in agriculture over the next year, motivated by their trip to Pyongyang, but the farmers who traveled there ended up wondering why they’ve been like this all their lives.” worked hard,” the source said.

A resident of Hongwon County in eastern South Hamgyong Province said the 50 farmers selected from his county came back upset that the authorities always put Pyongyang first, to the point that the people there were “in a different world Life”.

“Farmers were surprised that Pyongyang was changing so quickly with the construction of new roads. They also wondered that unlike rural residents, residents there get larger food rations, including bonus rations for holiday celebrations,” the second source said. “They said that the sight of Pyongyang residents wearing brightly colored clothes and shiny shoes riding city buses and subways was very insulting to them, since they had to go to the fields in shabby clothes all year round.”

He said farmers work from dawn to dusk in the summer to feed the land but are not getting enough food from the government’s distribution system.

“It is simply unfair that only Pyongyang residents receive benefits such as adequate food rations,” he said.

Translated by Claire Shinyoung Oh Lee. Written in English by Eugene Whong.