North Korean leader Kim Jong-il launched a campaign to persuade farmers to grow potatoes instead of rice.
Some 200,000 hectares of potatoes were planted this year with the potential of a four-million-ton crop. The government wants to increase the area planted next year to 400,000 hectares, about a sixth of the country’s cultivable land.
The potato campaign follows poor grain crops in North Korea this year with the government unable to meet its daily level of rice for its population. The potato has a shorter growing period than rice or corn.
The government-controlled media has begun advising readers that potatoes are cheap and nutritious and detailing more than 100 ways of preparing them—including making them into noodles.