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Rice is a staple food crop and is widely grown in DPR Korea. According to a 2015 FAO article "the planting area for rice is 563,200 hectares with an average yield of 4.7 tonnes per hectare. Although rice has 38.5 percent of national total food crop planting area, it contributes 50.8 percent to the total national food production due to its relatively higher yield compared with other food crops. Therefore rice is very important crop for national food security and increasing farmers' income in the country." With the limitations of technology, shortage of farming supplies and frequent disasters like drought and flooding, rice yield has declined in recent years. In addition, DPRK’s population is expected to expand each year by an additional 204,850 people requiring an additional production of 45,067 metric tonnes of food each year.

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 began a successful SRI project in 2014. 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. During 2015, an FAO SRI project in Kang So County helped address drought problems and increase yield to 7.2 tonnes/ha.

As of 2018, AFSC has allocated funds to continue their work with SRI and other agricultural innovations in the communes where they have been active. This NGO, which began working in North Korea in the 1990's, says that the plastic tray methods using SRI principles have continued to raise yields; North Korean authorities have continued to show great interest in the SRI practices as of 2018. Also during 2018, a North Korean farmer, Ms Kim Ri Hwa, was among model farmers from five countries of the Asia-Pacific region who received FAO awards for their innovation on October 19, 2018 at the celebration of World Food Day in the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific.
During early 2019, A Pyongyang Times article noted that cooperative farms would be encouraged "to introduce advanced farming methods, including the SRI, dense planting of maize and rational distribution of earlier and later crops for double or triple cropping, in order to drastically increase per-hectare yield." With regard to rice production, the government feels it is important to introduce water-saving methods and take preventive measures against damage from drought and rainy season. A 2021 article in the Pyongyang Times reported that SRI has been widely introduced into farms across the DPRK, especially cooperative farms in Pyongyang and North Phyongan Province, and Kangwon Province.

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