- After Kim Jong-Il’s Birthday, rations have increased by 80% nationwide (except for farmers)
- Rice price stabilized at 300Won/kg as of April 2
- The largest distribution since the “Arduous March”
The markets in North Korea have finally stabilized due to increased food rations which have gone up by 80% nationwide, according to a source on April 2. Except for those who work at farms, 80% of North Korean citizens receive rations, 600g for adults and 300g for students. Given farmers take up 20-30% of the population, 60% of the population is receiving rations.
This is unprecedented; such distributions have not been handed out since the Arduous March.
Our source stated that rations have been distributed since February 16 in almost all areas, including Pyongyang, Shin-ui-ju, Sariwon, Musan, and Chungjin. Additionally, the rations will be distributed at least until Kim Il-Sung’s Birthday on April 15, and the price of food will not rise for a month. The source stated that the food seems to have come from Storage #2 in order to support the public since the failed currency reform, which has caused famine in many parts of the country.
The price of food has dropped since the distribution of rations. On April 2, the rice price was 300g per kg. On April 1, rice was 280Won per kg in Pyongyang. Compared to the rice price on March 8 which was at 1,300 won, the rice price fell by 70%. Corn price has also stabilized at 120-150 Won per kg.
However, the source was doubtful that the distribution of rations will continue after Kim Il-Sung’s birthday. The source stated that the Government will not be able to continue providing rations by end of April, which is the month when the food situation in North Korea is extremely dire. Food in storage was consumed over the winter and new crops have yet to be planted. Koreans call this “the hungry period in spring”.
Additionally, unlike regular rations, the current rations provided do not only come from the central government, but are provided by factories and units. Therefore, rations of rice and other crops differ.
In Pyongyang, for instance, the workers under the central government receive rice and crops at the ratio of 8;2, other workers in Pyongyang receive them at 7;3, workers in Shinuiju receive them at 6;4, and military suppliers in Musan receive them at 5;5.
The price also differs. Rice costs 50Won/kg, and corn generally costs 20 Won /kg. This is only 25% of the market price, but it is relatively expensive for rations.