North Korean farmers cannot compete with low priced Chinese imports

Business firms tied to North Korea’s cash-strapped regime are earning money for Pyongyang by purchasing farm products and other goods cheaply in China and selling them for higher prices at home, sources say.

The move has disadvantaged North Korean farmers, who can’t compete, a source in North Korea’s North Hamgyong province, bordering China, told RFA’s Korean Service.

“Preference for North Korean products is just rhetoric,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“Businesses set up to earn foreign currency are now importing goods indiscriminately, even goods that can be produced locally, so that residents have no chance to make a living selling their goods at market,” the source said.

“Residents who had depended on farming their own small plots of land are being hit the hardest,” he added.

Staples such as garlic, cucumber, chilli peppers, and tobacco leaves had been profitably marketed for years by North Korean farmers, the source said.

“Now, though, garlic and fresh eggs from China are dominating the local markets. And chilli peppers, the farmers’ last standby for making money, are being threatened because of the products being brought in from China.”

“The farmers are about to give up chilli pepper farming,” he said.


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