Let us plant healthy rice plants on time to harvest an additional 500 kilogrammes!
Artist: Kwak Heung-mo
Publisher: Korean Workers Party Press
Condition: Very good, folded centre, small amount of creasing to margins
Agricultural policies in North Korea are devised by the central government and form part of the larger series of national economic plans to develop the country. After the formation of the North Korean government in 1946, a policy of land reform was adopted. The Land Reform Act required the collectivisation of cultivated land held in private ownership, and by 1958 all individual farmers had been integrated into the new system. Once this had been achieved, extensive efforts were undertaken to increase the scale of farming by reducing the number of collectives and consolidating into a smaller number of much larger collectives, while introducing the mechanisation of farm labour - seen as a vital component in the transition to a modern farming system. A mechanisation program was launched in 1960, with an estimated 9000 tractors employed to work the land at that time.
The two major crops in North Korea at the time were maize and rice. Of the country's 12 million hectares of land, around three-quarters is mountainous and unsuitable for farming. Two-thirds of the arable land is located in four western provinces, with the provinces of North Pyongan, South Pyongan and South Hwanghae on the coast of the Yellow Sea providing over half of North Korea's paddy fields. In 1965 around 40 percent of the country's population was involved in agricultural production, with numbers increasing during the planting and harvest periods when additional labour was used. The rice growing season in the region generally lasts for between 150 and 180 days.
In 1964 Kim Il-sung produced a treatise on North Korean agricultural policy, Theses on the Socialist Rural Question in Our Country, which set out a detailed plan for implementing the transition to a modern agricultural system. Published in several languages, the theses were originally conceived in a 1962 conference and proposed applying ideological, technological and cultural advances to farming. These changes included continuing the consolidation of cooperatives; placing emphasis on peasants and agriculture over the urban population; developing irrigation, electrification of rural areas, and use of chemicals and fertilisers; as well as resolving issues around shortages creatively and independently using the Juche spirit. The policy was generally a success and resulted in an increase in rice production to enable basic self-sufficiency by 1973, however practices introduced as a result of the reforms did lead to land erosion and deforestation which contributed to later crises.
With a cold climate and relatively short growing period, various methods were devised to improve rice yields. Planting seedlings in protected beds and allowing them to grow before transplantation into the paddy was one method of increasing production. In this poster a female agricultural worker can be seen holding a bunch of seedlings ready for transfer into the field, while the slogan reinforces the efficacy of the method. The education of the peasants on new research about agricultural techniques was another goal of Kim Il-sung's Theses. The low perspective point-of-view was a technique commonly used in North Korean posters to place the viewer in a subordinate position and increase the power of the message.