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Fertilizers crisis: North Korea urges citizens to spend more time in toilets

Written by The Frontier Post

SEOUL (MK): Another strange news comes from the DPRK. According to sources from South Korean publications, the authorities in the North, in an attempt to overcome the food crisis, are now encouraging citizens to actively donate human waste products. Of course, this is not the first time that the North Korean leadership has resorted to extremely non-standard measures in solving problems, and, given the closed regime, this kind of information should often be divided in two. However, in this case, it does not look so unrealistic.
If the coronavirus pandemic has dealt a serious blow to the United States and leading European economies, one can only guess how badly countries like North Korea have suffered. However, it is not easy to reliably find out the scale of the disaster in the Juche country: the media is completely under the control of the state, which lets into the outside world only cheerful reports on new military tests and insults to external enemies. Therefore, the main source of information is South Korean publications, which may well exaggerate.
What did not happen in the DPRK, according to the South Korean media: the North Korean leader shot generals with mortars, and threw objectionable ones at the mercy of hungry dogs … However, if such news sometimes looked, to put it mildly, doubtful, then the current food crisis, taking into account problems in this area seem to be a harsh reality. At the beginning of the year, it became known that in Pyongyang, the main goal for the short term was to resolve the issue of providing food. To do this, they introduced quotas for the delivery of a certain amount of manure and reduced the work schedule of food markets by an hour: so that citizens had extra time to collect the “secondary product” (as in Vlad-imir Voinovich’s dystopia “Moscow 2042” excrement is called society).
However, according to sources in the South Korean newspaper Daily NK, which specializes in news from the DPRK, it is not possible to obtain sufficient fertilizer from animals used in agriculture. The reasons are simple. There are not many of the same cattle in the country, and there is often nothing to feed them. But the exclusion from the market for an extra hour hits the pockets of the merchants.
In this regard, the Daily NK notes, the population was stimulated by the authorities once again: citizens were offered to use their own waste to fulfill the norm. Those who exceed the quota are promised preferential coupons to sell surplus manure in the markets. It is not in the tradition of the official North Korean news agency TsTAK to comment on such messages, so it is not surprising that there was no official reaction to the news: like last year, when, for example, Radio Free Asia announced an appeal by the DPRK leadership to farmers to use their own urine to make fertilizers.
It would seem that Pyongyang could theoretically agree on receiving humanitarian aid in the form of fertilizers or finished products, at least from Beijing, which has a relatively reserved attitude towards the unpredictable North Korean regime. However, the South Korean press notes that with the growing pandemic, the DPRK “closed” more than ever: this is associated with Kim Jong-un’s personal fears about the coronavirus.
International human rights organizations have repeatedly drawn attention to the food crisis in the DPRK, but how to solve this problem even by the efforts of the world community is not very clear.
“As far as the manure collection campaign is concerned, this information appears to be true, ” says Alexander Zhebin, head of the Center for Korean Studies at the Institute for Far Eastern Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences. – Such steps have been taken in North Korea before.
If we talk about the possible use of human excrement, then it is not excluded. In general, at one time what was left of pets was used – I don’t think it is possible in cities, but there was such a practice.
Perhaps, somewhere in the villages, the contents of the cesspools are transported to the fields. Another thing is that there are not so many horses in the DPRK, there is more pig waste, and this is somewhat different. But, given that the country purchased a significant part of fertilizers, and now there are no such opportunities, it cannot be ruled out that non-standard and non-traditional sources of increasing soil fertility are being mobilized now ”.
“MK” asked domestic farmers: do they use human excrement in their work? The answer was unambiguous and expected: no, no, and again no! And the point here is not only in the natural disgust of our fellow citizens or in the unpleasant amber that hovers over such a “fertilizer” for a long time. A farmer with a scientific degree told us that human feces contain a lot of chlorine, methane and sodium and heavy metals, when they are introduced into the soil, a strong alkaline environment arises that can destroy all plants. Burenki or horses feed on grass, while a person feeds on everything from vodka to herring …
“In addition,” the farmer told us, “ various parasites and microorganisms that can infect vegetables or fruits continue to live on“ human dung” for a long time. Although in some countries of the world, human waste is quite used for landscape planting. On average, a person releases about half a ton of waste per year. Experts say that in some rural areas of China and some other countries the owner will be very upset if the guests invited to his house do not first visit the “booth in the yard” to replenish the supplies of “organic” to their respectable neighbor.

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