The food shortage in North Korea made many farmers cultivate even the steepest slopes. The wooded hills were cleared, which increased the risk of erosion and natural disasters. The Swiss Agency for Cooperation and Development (SCD) has also been involved in North Korea for almost 20 years and has recently held review of this time.
Since 2005 SCD has promoted the production of rice, potatoes, grain and berries on slopes together with the government and local partners. Fruit trees and grass strips protect the slopes from erosion. In a very nicely designed brochure, ten of the experts and farmers involved in the project take stock of what they were able to try through active involvement and what they have learned from their mistakes. Their perseverance was worth it. The Ministry of Environment is planning to expand their insights on 400.000 ha (instead of the originally planned 150.000).
I am very pleased with the positive feedbacks, e.g. from Ri Sung Jang, forester in Sariwon, who said, “as people can change, so slopes can be made fruitful again!” The report (in English with loads of beautiful photos) can be found at: http://bit.ly/dezaslope.