July 30, 2020
North Korean leader checks new poultry farm construction
According to state media, Kim Jong Un recently inspected the building of the Kwangchon Chicken Farm in North Korea and called for an improvement to the country's "backwards" poultry sector, NK News reported.
The visit is Kim's third overall appearance reported this past week, while two of the three visits were to construction sites. The chicken farm is also only the second economic site he has publicly toured in 2020, following two visits to a fertiliser factory in Sunchon.
Kim said in the undated visit that the ruling Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) will "send a full set of the most advanced poultry equipment with the highest level of modernity, automation and intensification to the Kwangchon Chicken Farm," according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
The site will become a "model in modernising all the chicken farms across the country," he reportedly said, because "chicken farms in our country, which are said to have been modernised, are now backward as they are more than 20 years old."
Production targets were set to "thousands of tonnes of delicious and quality meat and tens of millions of tasty and quality eggs every year," the KCNA reported. Kim said the "Party expects [it] to make significant contributions to the dietary life of our people."
A deadline was not specified in the KCNA report, though Kim reportedly urged the soldier-builders to finish the project "within the time set."
The Kwangchon farm is located just south of Pyongyang in Hwangju county, and is directly adjacent to the existing Tree Nursery No. 122 of the Korean People's Army (KPA).
With the top officials accompanying Kim listed in the report as chief of the KPA General Staff Pak Jong Chon and director of the General Political Bureau of the KPA Kim Su Gil, it is likely the farm is also under the army's management.
And while Kim reportedly "expressed satisfaction over the fact that the huge project was successfully pushed forward [with] lots of work done in a short period," satellite imagery suggests that progress has actually been slow.
Work started in May 2019, according to daily medium-resolution Planet Labs imagery, but appeared delayed until March 2020, when construction began on most of the buildings in the images released Thursday. A group of on-site apartment blocks only appeared starting in May.
Other officials joining Kim included the North Korean leader's sister Kim Yo Jong, top advisor Jo Yong Won, propaganda department official Hyon Song Wol, and top official for construction design Ma Won Chun, according to the KCNA.
Kim's visit follows inspections from another top official, Choe Ryong Hae, who visited the Sariwon Chicken Farm just to the south in January 2020 and in April 2019. This site, as well as many other chicken farms, were visited by Kim's father, Kim Jong Il, during his time in power.
The poultry industry is just the latest area North Korea has targeted for a revamp, stressing a new "model" to be duplicated later across the country.
Last year, Kim pushed a similar line on building new greenhouse farms, and near-identical sprawling tree nursery complexes have sprouted around the country in recent years.