NKorean farmers planting rice with profits in mind

May 31, 2013 • World News

In this Thursday, May 23, 2013 photo, a North Korea farmer bank starts a tractor in a field along the highway between Pyongyang and Kaesong. Farmers in North Korea have confirmed that they have begun carrying out new economic policies designed to boost productivity by giving managers and workers financial incentives. Some foreign analysts say the moves are reminiscent of early reform in China in the late 1970s. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

HAMHUNG, North Korea (AP) — North Korean farmers knee deep in muddy paddies across the country have a new incentive during this year’s crucial rice planting season: possible bonuses that are part of an economic shift echoing ally China’s steps three decades ago toward embracing capitalism.

Details about the changes are emerging nearly two months after the regime unveiled dual goals of building the economy and nuclear weapons in the first concrete economic policy laid out by leader Kim Jong Un since he took power in December 2011.

Farmers say they have begun working under the new policies, which are designed to boost production by giving managers and workers financial incentives. Foreign analysts say the moves to spur North Korea’s moribund economy suggest Pyongyang is taking cues from Beijing on how to incorporate free market ideas within its rigid socialist system.

The North’s policy enshrining its provocative push to build atomic weapons as a national goal has complicated efforts to force North Korea to abandon its nuclear program and dominated international discussion about the country. Pyongyang’s economic priorities have drawn far less attention but some experts think important reforms could be unfolding.

Impoverished North Korea suffers chronic food and power shortages and has not released economic data for decades. South Korea’s central bank estimates the North’s gross national income, an indicator of the average standard of living, was Login to read more

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