According to « telescope news » The secretive and ostracised, North Korean regime of Kim Jong-Un has reportedly moved to secure massive tracks of agricultural land from President Robert Mugabe, to grow that country’s staple food of rice and sometimes maize, TheTelescope News, has heard. According to some North Korean sources, North Korean authorities already tried to buy some lands especially in Northern Russia and in Uganda
Mugabe’s botched land reform exercise, has now all but taken another bizzare twist, involving the allocation of much needed productive land to foreign governments instead of Zimbabwean citizens, many who are out of employment due to a tailspin economy.
The Telescope News has it on good account, that the following countries have approached Mugabe’s administration, through relevant ministries for farmland to grow food, cash crops and other purposes: China (Rice and tobacco); Iran (Unknown); Russia (mining); Libya (wheat) and India (unknown). China and Libya, have already been allocated substantial amounts of farmland, it has been confirmed by agriculture ministry officials this week.
Most of the farms owned by Libya, are said to have been purchased by the late autocrat, Muammar Gaddafi, who engaged in barter trade with Harare at the height of the country’s fuel crisis around 2005, in return for petroleum.
Pyongyang according to an Asian diplomat in Brussels is said to have identified rich land in Mashonaland East and Mashonaland Central provinces, which are among Zimbabwe’s most fertile farming areas, in a bid to curb chronic food shortages, while bolstering her food security.
The disclosures come amid media reports, on North Korea firing five short-range rockets into the sea off its east coast on Thursday, as Pope Francis arrived in South Korea’s Seoul for a five-day visit, thus increasing tension in the Korean Peninsula. The pope is expected to send a message of peace to Pyongyang when he conducts a special inter-Korean « reconciliation » mass in Seoul next week on the last day of his visit.
News about Pyongyang, reaching out to Zimbabwe to improve her food situation will not come as a shock, as the regime allegedly requested for food aid from Mugabe in 2011.
« There are many secrets which governments do not disclose, including your very own (Zimbabwe), » said the diplomat. « We have credible information about North Korea seeking land to grow rice, in Mashonaland East or Mashonaland Central under highly mechanised irrigation equipment possibly obtained from China. Zimbabwe has tremendous potential to grow food, which can adequately feed the nation, and the soils are world class, which is why we are not surprised to hear about other countries coming to buy or lease farms, to produce staples for their own. »
Zimbabwe was once the breadbasket of Africa, exporting wheat, tobacco, and corn to the rest of the continent and beyond. The country is said to contain the most fertile farmland in Africa.
An aid to agriculture minister, Joseph Made, confirmed that there are numerous foreign governments applying for farming land, and asked that we contact the minister on his other numbers, which were not being answered.
« This is not new Mushekwe. Everywhere around the world, you find foreigners including governments owning land. In fact in most African states, the biggest land owners are not the locals but international farming cartels. »
Since 2011, North Korea has been planning unprecedented agricultural projects as far as Russia in the Far East, to grow soybeans, potatoes, corn and other crops, to deal with acute food and land shortages. Pyongyang sent a delegation for talks with authorities of the Amur region in Russia, three years ago on leasing land to grow vegetables and grain. It is thought Kim Jong -Un, might prefer to lease the Zimbabwe land to avoid scrutiny, while using front farmers.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), North Korea is expected to produce 1.9 million tons of rice in 2014. The figure represents an increase from 2010, 2011 and 2012 when North Korea’s average rice production reached 1.7 million tons, FAO said in a biannual global food report posted on its website.
The FAO report, states that per capita rice consumption in North Korea is forecast to reach 67.8 kilograms this year, compared with 65.4 kg last year.
Rice is a key staple food for both South and North Koreans.
Pyongyang has relied on international handouts since the late 1990s when it suffered a widespread famine that was estimated to have killed 2 million people.
North Korea is loathed in Zimbabwe, for training a menacing crack military unit known as the Fifth Brigade in the early 1980’s, accused of ochestrating genocide in Matabeleland, resulting in the gruesome loss of innocent lives consisting of mostly women and children, estimated at about 20 000 lives.