Legal punishments await those who fail to protect the economy by wasting food, a new directive from the Central Committee of the Korean Workers’ Party says.
It comes three typhoons in August and September destroyed farmland and crops, along with the huge economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the country coupled with economic sanctions.
A source told Radio Free Asia: “At the beginning of this month, the Central Committee ordered residents to actively participate in solving our food crisis this year as part of a food-saving struggle.
“The order emphasised that the struggle not only solves the problem of how we will eat, it is a matter of protecting the socialist system.
“It also warned that authorities will step up crackdowns and punishments for any actions related to food waste.”
Since January, all trade with the outside world has been suspended due to the pandemic, including the land border to the north with China.
It comes as North Koreans look ahead to New Year festivities which are usually celebrated with an abundance of food at the family dinner table.
The Central Committee has ordered “not to set the ceremonial table with foods made from grains.”
This directive means food prices are rising with grains forbidden.
Kim’s government suggests only fruit and vegetables should be served, while guests ought to be served noodles only with rice cakes and bread are strictly off the menu.
Widespread starvation in the hermit state is thought to be affecting millions of people.
It has also emerged that North Korea has banned firewood, forcing freezing citizens to trade twigs in secret.
The move has been made by the government to stem deforestation.