The communist nation of North Korea is so without food that it can’t even feed its troops. Thus North Korean officials have ordered troops to steal the meager scraps of food rural farmers have grown for themselves.
According to DailyNK, this order to raid farms comes weeks after the North Korean military was given a month off to scrounge for food to feed themselves with. The shortage of food is due to a sub-par harvest, and farmers who didn’t deliver the quota given to it by the North Korean government will now find themselves giving up food for their private use.
“We are suffering because collective farms in our region did not have a good harvest last year and so we were unable to fulfill the mandatory quota for military provisions. All individuals who weren’t able to meet the demands have been receiving additional assignments since the very beginning of January,” the anonymous source told the DailyNK.
Another source told the DailyNK that this isn’t necessarily an uncommon occurrence and that government confiscation of food during a season as “the time when thieves rear their ugly heads.”
“Sometime in spring, the collective farms that are behind on their quotas will have some of their constituents provide frozen potatoes, which are processed by peeling and drying before presentation to the authorities. But many also call the season the ‘time when thieves (in this case, the farm authorities) rear their ugly heads,'” he added.
But while government confiscation of food is typical, the tactics used have never seemed so desperate:
Tactics employed by collective farm authorities have been particularly ruthless in some regions, with officials at times completely ransacking homes in order to collect every last grain of food. This has become a source of conflict.
Sources say that residents are not surprised by the collection order itself since they are familiar with the annual demands to provide food for the military, but that it is a new tactic for authorities to go as far as ransacking their homes to collect food.
Things seem so desperate that the government has ordered food from the people now more than ever:
In the past, the North Korean authorities adjusted military provision quotas for residents based on harvest results each year. But circumstances have now changed, and the demands on residents continue to increase despite the impossibility of meeting quotas. Residents are now facing mounting difficulties from all sides, and will also have to prepare for the next season on top of trying to meet the quotas of the previous season.
DailyNK reported that these tactics have resulted in confrontations between officials and citizens. In some cases, officials have attempted to scare some residents with anti-United States propaganda.
“Officials carried out home searches in Paekam County (Ryanggang Province) to determine how much food some families had. As an excuse to enter and demand bribes, they said to the residents, ‘Are we just going to let our military starve while the Americans lick their lips and prepare to eat us alive?'” a separate source in Ryanggang Province said.