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N. Korea launches 'weeding campaign' following rice-planting drive

All News 15:47 June 09, 2016

SEOUL, June 9 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has just launched a weeding campaign in rice paddies following a month-long drive to plant rice as part of a nationwide effort to boost the country's grain production.

In an editorial, the North's main newspaper Rodong Sinmun called on the people to make a concentrated effort to root out weeds in the rice fields as required by the country's ruling Workers' Party. It said such measures are critical to increase rice production this year.

The country has ended the spring rice planting season in the wake of the rare congress of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) last month. In the seventh WPK congress, the North announced various economic projects aimed at improving economic conditions in the impoverished country.

The newspaper, an organ of the WPK, claimed the country has aggressively entered the weeding campaign following a successful rice planting in the first year of the nation's five-year economic development plan.

The newspaper said that farmers, agricultural workers and volunteers all have a strong will to attain the goal of a high crop yield that can solve the country's food shortage problem.

"We will devote all our wisdom and energies to solving the food problem under the guidance of the WPK and finish the rice production as required by the Juche (self-reliant) method of farming and attain the goals of grain production for this year under any circumstances," the paper said.

In its previous editorial last month, the Rodong Sinmun called for the people to concentrate all their efforts on the rice-planting campaign to gain a breakthrough in grain production. The paper likened rice farming to a "battle" that must be won.

Reflecting the country's renewed interest in farming, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un visited a machinery exhibition in his first inspection since he was appointed the chairman of the WPK early last month.

He showed interest in the agricultural machinery and equipment during the inspection tour, according to the North's media report.

Grain output numbers have gained more urgency as the country has been slapped with the toughest sanctions yet by the U.N. for its fourth nuclear test earlier this year. Pyongyang's provocations have, moreover, hurt the inflow of food aid from abroad that can pose serious challenges for the country down the road.

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