North Korean Army Builds Pig Farms to Boost Meat Supply

Kim Jong Un orders troops to raise pigs, cultivate soybeans to address shortages of food.

Kim Jong Un inspects a Korean People's Army unit in an undated file photo.

Responding to orders from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, military units across the country are setting up pig farms as a solution to the problem of chronic shortages of meat in the army, sources in the country say.

Work on the farms began at brigade level shortly after Kim ordered their construction during a June visit to Unit 810, a supply group in Jagang province, bordering China, a source in Jagang told RFA’s Korean Service.

“The 12th Army Corps of the People’s Army stationed in Gangge, the capital city of Jagang, and the 12th Brigade of the People’s Defense Guard in the city of Manpo, also in Jagang, are currently building new pig farms,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

One company from each brigade has been mobilized to carry out the construction, he said.

Kim gave similar orders during an inspection of Unit 350, based in North Hwanghae province bordering South Korea, ordering military units also to increase the cultivation of malt soybeans as an additional source of food, the source said.

Kim’s order was not reported by North Korean media, the source added.

In response to Kim's orders, brigade-level battalions quickly began building the farms, with one farm also currently under construction in the area of Namsang-ri, a village in South Pyongan province near the Dokro River, he said.

Unit 810 had formerly controlled two trading firms called Gangsung and Sungri Trading, a source in North Hamgyong province told RFA.

“But Jang Sung-taek, [Kim’s uncle and] former chief of the now defunct Administrative Department of the Workers’ Party, who was executed in December 2014, took those two firms away from the army and put them under the control of Unit 54 of the Administrative Department.”

Following Jang’s execution, the Administrative Department was disbanded, with the government returning all mines belonging to Unit 54 to the Cabinet , the source said.

The unit’s other affiliated entities, including ranches and fisheries, were merged into Unit 810 under the Rear Directorate General of the People’s Army, he said.

Reported by Sung-hui Moon for RFA’s Korean Service. Translated by Changsop Pyon. Written in English by Richard Finney.