What Percentage Of Workers Is In Agriculture In North Korea?
Agriculture accounts for a significant portion of North Korea’s workforce, estimated to range anywhere from 25-50%. The proportion has been decreasing in the face of increased industrialization and urbanization of the nation since the 1970s. As of 2020, an estimated 14 million people live in North Korea, with a large percentage of the population continuing to rely on the agricultural sector for employment and sustenance. However, despite its importance, the country’s agricultural industry has been facing a number of challenges, from restrictive government policies to a lack of access to necessary inputs, as well as constraints on production capacity.
The legacy of a centrally planned economy drives policies which prioritize the industrial sector, resulting in limited resources and attention for rural production. Investments have especially been centered on manufacturing sectors, with agricultural machinery and equipment often on the backburner. As a result, there are a limited number of tractors available for farmers to work with, resulting in large labor requirements. Farm workers in the rural areas of North Korea often perform tasks with hand tools and animal labor, while industrial goods tend to receive preferential treatment and benefit from greater investments.
What’s more, foreign aid has been vital in sustaining the North Korean agricultural sector since the 1990s. During this period, the nation has been subject to wide-reaching food shortages which have been supported by various international aid networks, most significantly China and South Korea. Aid agencies have distributed fertilizer, seeds, and food rations to regions in need, contributing to a resurgence of the agricultural sector in recent years.
The North Korean agricultural industry is expected to remain an important part of the economy in the coming decades. With the United Nations’ estimates forecasting agricultural production to increase by 20% in the 2020s, the sector is poised to play an even larger role in sustaining the nation’s resource base. In addition, the government is being urged to take steps to improve its agricultural production, making use of advanced technologies, inputs and training.
All of these efforts combined suggest that the agricultural industry of North Korea is likely to remain an important contributor to the nation’s workforce. Estimations of its contribution are likely to remain within the 25-50% range, with the population continuing to rely on this sector for food and employment into the foreseeable future.
Government Policies Impacting Agriculture in North Korea
Due to its centrally planned economy, the government of North Korea has an unusually large influence in the agricultural production of the nation. Government policies, from the distribution of capital to restrictions on private enterprise, serve to impact the effectiveness of the sector. As of 2020, the government continues to impose certain restrictions on private enterprise which is seen as a threat to its ideal model of a heavily planned and centrally managed society.
Furthermore, efforts to reform the agricultural system have been slow-paced. While the government has implemented certain measures to increase production, much of the industry remains outdated and inefficient, with few incentives for farmers to adopt new technologies and modernize their businesses. A lack of finance has been an important factor in this stagnation, while foreign aid has been essential in sustaining average farm incomes as well as increasing food production.
The nation has also been subject to high levels of soil erosion and degradation, as intensive agricultural practices coupled with shortages of arable land have led to further limitations on production. As a result, resource constraints have become a source of difficulty for farmers, with the sector proving to be less than effective when not met with adequate supply.
In addition, there have been worrying trends of environmental damage from irrigation activities and poor maintenance of soil fertility. The government has been urged to provide further resources and incentives in order to reduce this damage and increase land use productivity, although progress has been slow in this area.
Despite the challenges, North Korea’s agricultural industry is expected to remain an important sector of the economy in the years to come. With the prospect of greater resources and more reforms, the sector’s contribution in terms of food and employment is likely to remain strongly in place.
Access to Inputs for North Korean Agriculture
Access to inputs is one of the key challenges for the agricultural industry in North Korea. With foreign aid and international pressure on the decline in the years leading up to 2020, the nation has had to make do with limited resources in order to maintain sufficient levels of food production. Inputs such as fertilizers and seeds, as well as access to improved machinery, are essential in order to optimize production, making it difficult for farmers to succeed with limited resources.
Furthermore, the government’s restrictions on private enterprise have made it difficult for rural production to develop, as the population is often unable to access the necessary capital and inputs which are needed in order to grow food crops. In addition, farmers are often unable to mobilize resources among themselves, resulting in less efficient methods of production.
Foreign aid has been essential in providing farmers with vital resources in the face of these challenges. During the food shortage period of the 1990s, South Korea, China, and the United Nations have provided farmers with necessary supplies which have allowed them to resume their production activities. This foreign assistance has been instrumental in stabilizing the food security of North Korea and making sure that the agricultural sector is able to provide to some degree.
In spite of these constraints, the agricultural industry of North Korea has continued to play an important part of the economy. With access to improved inputs and modern technology, the sector could potentially become more efficient and fruitful for the nation’s population. In the meantime, foreign aid networks have been an invaluable resource for the people of North Korea, making sure that the sector remains adequately supplied with the necessary materials.
Growth of Industrialization and Urbanization in North Korea
North Korea has experienced a number of changes in the decades leading up to 2020, with the nation’s population steadily increasing and industrialization and urbanization dominating the national economy. This has led to a shift in the nation’s resource allocation, as the government has chosen to prioritize the manufacturing sector as opposed to its agricultural industry.
The growth of urban centers in the nation has especially been a cause of concern. With a lack of resources often seen in rural areas, farmers have had to turn to factory work in order to find employment, leading to fewer people in the agricultural sector and a higher concentration of income in the industrial sector. This has further limited the resources available to rural production, resulting in a decrease in the contribution of the sector.}
In addition, high levels of food insecurity in the nation have been linked to its restrictive government policies, putting a limit on agricultural production and making it difficult for the implementation of efficient infrastructure. Despite efforts to modernize and improve farming practices, the urban centers of North Korea have stolen the spotlight in terms of resource distribution, limiting the potential of the country’s agricultural industry.
Despite the effects of urbanization and industrialization in North Korea, the agricultural industry is likely to remain one of the nation’s key resources for the coming decades. With access to proper resources and support, the sector is expected to remain an important source of food and employment for its population.
Role of Technology in North Korean Agriculture
In recent years, the North Korean agricultural industry has been looking to the implementation of advanced technologies in order to increase its production. With the nation facing a lack of resources and access to capital, the agricultural sector has seen a shift towards the use of automated methods of production in recent years, with many farmers making use of technologies such as sensors and artificial intelligence.
Furthermore, the government has implemented a number of initiatives in order to improve the efficiency of agricultural production. Among them is the nationwide development of smart gardens, with the system utilizing greenhouse-style cultivation and automated irrigation and fertilization in order to produce higher yields with less inputs. In addition, the nation has also been working on the introduction of ICT technology into production, with the use of drones and automated systems allowing for bigger-scale agricultural operations.
Despite these advancements, much of the agricultural sector of North Korea is still operating with outdated technologies and methods of production. With resources and finance remaining scarce for rural production, many farmers are still stuck with traditional techniques, although efforts to modernize and update the sector are slowly starting to take effect.
In the coming years, the North Korean agricultural sector is likely to make further advances in terms of technology and production. With the national government continuing to prioritize growth and development, the sector is likely to benefit from improved infrastructure and access to modern inputs, enabling the nation to maintain a sufficient self-sustaining production.