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DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF KOREA

Summary

The first discussions of SRI in the DPRK took place in 1998 when a small delegation from the Academy of Agricultural Sciences (AAS) visited Cornell, under the auspices of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). In 2005, a larger delegation including AAS scientists visited Cornell under the auspices of The Asia Foundation, and there was a long discussion on SRI possibilities. In 2008, four cooperatives in the Pyongyang area with which the AFSC was working in cooperation with AAS and the Ministry of Agriculture, under the auspices of the Korean Committee for Solidarity with World People, experimented with SRI methods and achieved yield increases of 0.5-1.0 tons/ha by using just some of the practices adapted to local conditions. In 2009, the cooperatives had 250 hectares under several different versions of SRI practice. In 2010, trials are underway to assess what would be optimally wide spacing under local conditions.

During February, 2010, a delegation of rice specialists from AAS participated in an international SRI workshop in Hangzhou organized by the China National Rice Research Institute (see AFSC PowerPoint). The Asia Foundation, which supported the workshop, offered to further assist such exchanges within the East Asian region. In April 2010, AFSC conducted a tour for DPRK farm managers to visit Sichuan province in China to learn more about SRI experience in conditions fairly similar to theirs. AFSC in consultation with DPRK partners has also developed a manual on the initial stages of rice planting and a Korean language manual on SRI. Several cooperative farms in the Pyongyang region are continuing with evaluation of SRI methods in 2010.

The Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is encouraging evaluation of SRI methods on several cooperatives with which it works in the DPRK. The FAO office in Pyongyang has taken an interest in SRI, and there may be SRI components in an IFAD project on conservation agriculture that FAO is advising on. The New Zealand-DPRK Society has in the past provided information on SRI to some cooperatives with which it has connections. It has dubbed a Korean soundtrack onto the training video produced by ADRA in 2004 based on Indonesian SRI demonstrations and has made this available to cooperatives in DPRK. A 2012 video produced by the American Friends Service Committee and subsequent 2014 Radio Free Asia article documents AFSC work with promoting an SRI adaptation using plastic trays. During 2013, an article in The Johns Hopkins University's 38 North website speculates that some of the increase in rice yield is likely a result of wider use of SRI.

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1998-2005

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