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Democratic People's Republic of Korea

by Rim Song Chol


Pesticide Management is done under the coordinated planning and leadership of the government, from the principle of contributing to the protection of human health and ecological system and increasing agricultural production.

After adoption of the "International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides", the DPRK government has done the necessary work to discharge its duty in managing pesticides.

This report gives an outline of the past activities and present situation in the field of pesticides management in the DPRK.

National legislation and implementing agencies for the international code of conduct

- National Legislation

The main legislation for environment protection in the DPRK is "the DPRK Law on the Protection of Environment"(April 7, 1986).

It points out clearly the principles and activities needed to conserve, protect and improve the country's environment, and to minimize any negative effects that may cause to human health and economic development by destruction and pollution of environment.

It was amended twice after its adoption, and is in the renewed process in the light of the recent global efforts for protecting the ecological environment and in due reflection of the contents of some international conventions or protocols on environmental protection (e.g. Rotterdam Convention, Stockholm Convention and Montreal Protocol etc.).

This law includes some provisions of regulating the production, import and use of pesticides that damage human health and environment such as soil, air, forest, sea, freshwater and underground water, and these provisions are considered as basic provisions in national pesticide management.

The "Law on Land", "Law on Rivers", "Law on Agriculture", "Law on Pomiculture", "Law on Fish Breeding", "Law on Quality Control", "Law on Conservation of Biodiversity" and "Law on Public Health" also mention the provisions of regulating the use of dangerous pesticides and protecting the ecological environment and people who handle these pesticides.

The "DPRK Law on Pesticide Management", "Regulation on Pesticide Management" and other detailed regulations, all these are main legislations for pesticide management, which are now under consideration for further amendment.

The "DPRK Law on Pesticide Management" is the main legislation for managing pesticides, covering all questions arising in the production, supply, import, export, storage, use, registration and examination of the pesticides.

The draft version of this law presents clearly the principle issues needed for legal guarantee of effectiveness, efficiency and safety in the pesticide management.

The "Regulation on Pesticide Management" regulates the targets and applied means, working procedures and methods and other technical matters, needed for implementation of the "DPRK Law on Pesticide Management".

Detailed regulations were made for implementing the law and regulation on pesticide management such as the "Regulation on Registration and Examination of Pesticides", "Regulation on Safe Use of Pesticides", "Interim Regulation for Field Trial of Foreign Company's Pesticide Products in the DPRK" and so on.

The amendments of this law and other detailed regulations will go into force soon after getting an approval from the state.

As mentioned in the above, the legal basis was, in main, provided for the improvement of pesticide management in the DPRK. On this basis, the pesticide management work like production, import, export, distribution and use of pesticides is all developed in a more positive direction.

- Implementation of the Code of Conduct

The Ministry of Agriculture is exercising its unified control and guidance over the pesticide management in the DPRK, and the Agrochemicalization Research Institute under the Academy of Agricultural Science was authorized by the Cabinet to assume such functions as registering and examining the pesticides.

The institute prepares the drafts or amendments of the legislations on pesticide, and submits them to the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly and the Cabinet of the DPRK for the purpose of review, adoption and effectuation, under the agreement of the Ministry of Agriculture. It also registers the pesticides produced, imported and exported by the state, evaluates their quality and effectiveness and ensures the safety in use and performs the function of dissemination of technology and training work to help people know how to conduct storage and use of the pesticides.

The institute also prepares the national strategy on pesticide in close contacts with the Cabinet, the Ministry of Agriculture and other relevant agencies, and studies, introduces and develops new sciences and technologies for the production and use of pesticides.

The following agencies participate in implementing this Code of Conduct:

National Committee for FAO

It coordinates the implementation of the "International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides" in the country, and evaluates the possibility of the use of pesticide and takes measures to prohibit or restrict pesticides, according to the international requirement.

The Ministry of Agriculture

It requires for strict observance of the procedures and methods under the law and regulations in distribution, supply and use of the pesticides in agricultural production, and holds the control over such implementation.

The Central Sanitary Prevention Station under the Ministry of Public Health

It establishes and implements the measures to use pesticides for controlling sanitary insects and vectors.

The Research Institute of Sanitary Science under the Academy of Medical Sciences

It carries out the sanitary research and examination on influence of new pesticides to human and animals including acute and chronic toxicity and carcinogenicity, and takes proper measures for their safety.

The Bureau for Quality Control

It works out standards for pesticide products, inspects and controls by administrative means to confirm if the pesticide products produced, imported and traded in the country satisfy the registered standards.

It also inspects and controls if the residue of pesticide in food or agricultural products exceeds the permitted residue limit.

The Ministry of Foreign Trade and General Bureau of Customs

They control the import or export of pesticide products not registered or different with the standards, by legal or administrative means.

The Ministry of Chemical Industry

It manages the domestic production of pesticide products in general, is responsible for ensuring the quality, safety and efficacy of the products, and carries out the development of new products.

The Research Center of Environment Protection under the Ministry of Land and Environment Protection

It evaluates the influences of the production, storage and use of pesticides over environment as well as the suitability of pesticide use in environmental protection.

The Central Plant Quarantine Station

It observes the occurrence of pests in advance, determines the limits of economic damage and informs about the use of pesticides. At the same time, it conducts dissemination of pesticide technologies.

State Planning Commission

It regulates the production, import and supply of pesticides and gives the license for the pesticide service facilities.

All the agencies mentioned above exchange information through the pesticide registration and inspection agency, and discuss the pesticide-related issues at the National Pesticide Reviewing Committee before assessing and determining the status of relevant pesticides.

A. Management of pests and pesticides


The DPRK government has officially expressed its IPM policies in agricultural production from a long time ago.

The DPRK government draws up its consistent agricultural policy and shows its special attention to that strategy to ensure the safe and sustainable agricultural production whereby it, while decreasing the use of chemical pesticides, uses pesticides safe to eco-environment, applies all appropriate means of controlling pests such as agro-technical methods, biological method, bioengineering and physical methods and maintains the pest level below the one prior to economic loss.

The DPRK government saw to it that the institutes of agricultural science continue their studies for the implementation of the IPM, and the Ministry of Agriculture made its strategy to contain the study results in the Juche farming method.

The DPRK conducted a research work in 1980s to find the way of exterminating comprehensively the rice-harming pests by bio-pesticides and exterminating maize stem-borers by natural enemies at a regular period of July and August when the pests occurred severely in the paddy fields.

But it was not enough to successfully carry out the long-term comprehensive strategy of pest management aimed at putting a curve on growth of pests since it only resorted to one side of exterminating the pests. Since 1990's, the government put a task to the Ministry of Agriculture and Academy of Agricultural Sciences to play a leading role in realizing the IPM strategy.


The IPM priorities in the DPRK are to have comprehensive management on rice stem borer, rice water weevil, maize stem borer, armyworm, aphids occurring in cultivation of rice, maize and main leaf-vegetables like Chinese cabbage.

The FAO, in support of the DPRK's effort for IPM strategy, helped conduct two rounds of IPM training and imparting for the technical people working at the level of the center, province and county.

As a result, quite a few people of agricultural management acquired the knowledge and dissemination abilities of the IPM in the west coastal area. Based on this experience, we plan to train the experts and widen the dissemination work of technology for the people in the field.

The main research units are the Plant Protection Research Institute, Agrochemicalization Research Institute under the Academy of Agricultural Sciences and Plant Protection Laboratories under Provincial branches of Academy, and the administrative works are under the responsibility of the Ministry of Agriculture.


The DPRK government is accelerating the IPM development and encouraging the participation of farmers and related agencies into it.

First, operating the agriculture policies to encourage the development of bio-pesticides, natural enemies and micro-organic pesticides and to improve the cultivation technologies in a way where it uses a little chemical pesticides and fertilizers.

For this, the government is organizing on a new basis the specialized research institute and administrative structures and investing funds on these research works.

Second, scientific and technical dissemination is done through mass-communication like newspaper and TV.

Third, intensifying technical and financial cooperation with the international organizations including FAO, to introduce the advanced IPM technologies in consonance with the realities of the country.


The main constraints to IPM strategy are as follows;

· Lack of comprehensive knowledge on biological, cultivation technology and chemical extermination means used for IPM strategy;

· not to possess the knowledge on scientific and technical issues like the selection of control means and the integrated management manner based on establishment of quantitative thresholds for insects and natural enemies living in the crop cultivation environment;

· weakness of the material and technical foundation to realize IPM.

Therefore, we find there is a need to develop and accelerate IPM strategy, for this:

· to train the experts for IPM;

· to strengthen the relationship between the research institutes and the administrative organizations in the country, and to activate international interchange like the information exchange and the technical cooperation on IPM;

· to help the IPM implementing units prepare the material and technical foundation.


The resistance of pests to pesticides is raised as one of the important problems in realizing the sustainable agriculture in the DPRK.

The resistance of insects to the use of organophosphorus insecticides and deltamethrin for cereal crops like rice and maize, the resistance of potato blight to the use of metalaxyl and the resistance to the use of organophosphorus insecticides in controlling aphids, only bring about the results of increasing the kinds and dose of pesticides applied. Especially, the most serious problem raised at present is the damage by Plutella maculipennis and Pieris rapae with resistance to pesticides in the production of cabbage family vegetables that are used for making "kimchi", a Korean traditional food.

So, the agricultural research institutes, recently, developed the integrated insect management method for sustainable vegetable production, and has applied it to 5 regions on a trial basis for some years.

The biological method to use benefit natural enemies inhibiting the insect population, the utilization of cultivation including crop rotation, selection of proper varieties and increasing fertility, the methods by managing practice of farms like readjustment of circumstance, and the methods of proper pesticide selection and dose decrease by establishment of thresholds of pests to decrease their population, have been applied in these legions, combining each other, and all experiences were integrated. On the basis of these results, the relevant protocols were prepared and the technologies are being disseminated gradually.

It is considered that accelerating the development and dissemination of IPM technology with intensified international technical cooperation and investment is important in solving the resistance problems, too.

B. Testing, quality control and effects in the field


All pesticides produced, imported, exported and marketed in the DPRK pass the quality control process.

With the recent rapid development of pesticide industry and the increase of sorts of pesticides around world, not a few difficulties were found in the quality control of pesticide, especially for imported ones.

The first is that the quality of some imported pesticides are different from the specifications on label or package of the products and the analysis for them is not carried out in time, so it leads to confusion in using the products.

The second is that some pesticides are not analyzed because of shortage of the means and methodology for analysis and the products enter into application without passing the quality control process. Some foreign companies put on sale their products thoughtlessly in disregard of the requirement of the Code of Conduct to furnish the analytical methods and standard materials of products.

To improve this status in pesticide management, the government strongly requires that pesticide products be imported only after registration and identification of them through the quality control process like analysis and examination for samples before importing, although they are products that have been recognized in the composition or effectiveness. The government is also establishing the working procedure to re-analyze and re-exam the products even if they have been distributed to users, in the case of being requested from the quality control agencies or users.


There is no legislation that requires pesticides to conform to relevant FAO or WHO specifications, at present. And discussion is now under way to include the related-provisions in the newly revised legislations.


There are laboratories for the pesticide quality control. But the capacities of local laboratories are not enough to undergo the full, timely and exact quality analysis for the pesticide products produced, imported, distributed and used in the DPRK. And few labs do not carry out the analysis for certain pesticides because of lack of necessary equipment and reagents.


All pesticides used in the DPRK are restricted by the permitted duration of safe use before harvest, when being applied. The permitted duration of safe use before harvest is in line with the international standard or is determined based on the residue analysis and permitted residue limits in the country, according to the specifications of the products. Especially, the demand for the permitted duration of safe use before harvest is much stricter, in case it is applied to vegetables or fruits.

The request on the quality control and effectiveness exam of pesticide products will be getting stronger, and therefore the problems related the quality of pesticide products in the level of last users could be decreased in DPR Korea.

C. Health and environment


All the policies in the DPRK are put into operation on the basis of principles to protect the lives and properties of the people and improve the people's health and living environment. To protect human health and environment from the pesticides, the government has mentioned the provisions to restrict the production, treatment and use of hazard chemicals like pesticides and to protect the people treating the substances, in the national laws including the "Law on Public Health" and the "Law on the Protection of Environment", and is implementing the legislations thoroughly.


The occupational poisoning cases have not yet been presented seriously among pesticide producers or users, up to now. Although there have not been the acute poisoning phenomena by pesticides, it is expected that the chronic poisoning among people who have handled pesticides for a long time, can be occurred, so precautionary measures for that are being taken in a timely manner. All hospitals and clinics in every rural areas of the country have the medical workers responsible for precaution and treatment of pesticide poisoning, and there are chemical poisoning treatment centers in hospitals of the big chemical factories including pesticide factories. Besides these rural clinics and poisoning centers, all hospitals have been prepared with technical capacities to treat especially the pesticide poisoning. The government, to prevent the poisoning cases in people treating pesticide, has clarified in legislation to supply exactly the necessary eutrophics and medication to workers using pesticides, and lets the relevant agencies perform the precautionary examination for them.


There is no national problem on environmental pollution presented by pesticide application. But, according to some investigation, it is evaluated that the population of aquatic organisms including fishes or frogs in paddy lands and streams is being decreased because of wrong use of pesticides and the surrounding soils of pesticide factories were polluted fairly. The issues on pollution of environment by toxic substances including pesticides and preventing it are under the responsibility of the Ministry of Land and Environment Protection, and the Research Center of Environment Protection carries out the investigation and research for them.


The pesticide residues in foods and agricultural products in the country are restricted up to permitted limits, and the limits coincide with the MRLs regulated by WHO. But the national application level of pesticides is relatively low compared with general world level, so almost no problems on pesticide residue in food and agricultural products are presented from the view of their resources. The pesticide residues in goods are under the restriction of legislation like "Law on Quality Control" and "Law on Agriculture" and the issue managing the safety of food from pesticide residue is under the responsibility of the Bureau for Quality Control.

D. Tendency in manufacture, use and trade of pesticides


The production of pesticides in the DPRK had amounted to several thousands tons as active ingredients. It was decreased because of some economic difficulties and, especially, by closed production process of pesticide which was required by international conventions or protocols on phasing out the hazard pesticides. More than half of the demand for pesticides is depended on the import in the DPRK.

The constitution of pesticides applied has changed, too. Nowadays, low dose of pesticides like sulfonyl urea herbicides and pyrethroid insecticides, and different natural substances and microorganism pesticides developed in the country are being applied actively. Therefore, many toxic pesticides including organic mercury or organic chloride pesticides have been out of use in most cases or on a complete basis.

The government is paying big attention to establishing new pesticide industry in the country, as well encouraging the development of different natural substances and microorganism pesticides.

New pesticide industries are covering both the manufacture of active ingredients of pesticides and the processing industry of pesticide products.


The production, import, distribution and use of pesticides in the DPRK are performed under the control of the state, and the data for them are reported to the relevant governmental agencies on a regular basis.


As in other products, the government makes measures for control and supervision necessary to prevent the smuggling and illegal sale of pesticide products. There are no big problems for illegal trade of pesticides, at present.

The DPRK government will make its endeavor to ensure the safety and effectiveness of pesticide use more thoroughly, by intensifying greater national controls over the production, import, distribution and use of all pesticides.

E. Selected standards


The DPRK government encourages the participation of all relevant units and, especially, makes the pesticide industries fulfill their duties in ensuring all qualitive standards of products, namely, exact contents of active ingredients, evaluation of toxicity, packaging, labeling and effective application methods, to decrease the potential hazard of pesticides.

In relation to recent increase of pesticides applied, the government and pesticide industries are ensuring the effectiveness and safety of pesticide products, by examining the products through the agencies associated with the pesticide management including the National Pesticide Registration and Inspection Agency, preparing and disseminating the application protocols for safe use.


To keep the pace with the international effort to phase out toxic pesticides, the government is doing the activities to phase out some pesticides that have been produced or used. The pesticide products affecting negatively to human health and environment are being phased out, including the ozone deplete substances (ODSs) like MB and CTC which are used as agro-fumigants, and organic chloride pesticides which are used for controlling various pests. The phasing out of ODSs is at a final stage, and the plan to phase out POPs is in implementation stage. In case of receiving prohibition requirement for any pesticides or being presented with data on the toxicities or non-effectiveness from domestic research institute or users or from any international organizations, the government organizes the National Pesticide Reviewing Committee to review and decide it.


There is no national project focusing to the hazard reduction of pesticides at present. But the training related to it is being carried out continuously under responsibility of the Ministry of Agriculture. Especially, regions in the whole country organize the practical trainings on safety use of pesticides for agro-technicians once a year. When supplying the pesticide products, the pesticide industries make it as a normal to provide the specially prepared protocols for safe application.


The collection system for the used container of general toxic materials including pesticides has been established in the country. All pesticide-supplying units can supply any pesticide products only after getting an assurance from purchasers that they will send back used containers and the purchasers can purchase other pesticide products from the suppliers after returning the used containers to them. The collected containers go into pesticide industries or are disposed by other safe means. There are some rare cases that the collection of containers is not performed completely, but no data is available that the no-collected containers go in for general use. There is no state system of collecting of residue pesticides in the country. In the present status of the country, there is no excessive supply of pesticide products. Accordingly, there can be found almost no pesticides left over. In the case of the left pesticide products, it is usual practice that they are labeled and stored by technicians to be used next time. But the left-over pesticides are requested to be analyzed before they are used next time.


There is some expectation that pesticides will be phased out in both pesticide industries and users in the country, but no data on significant stocks of them has been reported. The government is planning to include all pesticide items to be phased out in Annexes of Rotterdam Convention and Stockholm Convention, and to carry out overall survey on the production, import, supply, use and present stocks of them.


The Pesticide Registration System was established for the first time in the DPRK at the end of 1990's. After that, with the importance of pesticide management being emphasized, the "Law of the DPRK on Pesticide Management", "Regulation on Pesticide Management" and other detailed regulations were adopted and now the amendments of them are in consideration. All pesticides produced, imported, exported, supplied and applied in the country should be placed under the control of these legislations for pesticide management. On the basis of experiences and lessons accumulated through the operation of pesticide registration system in recent 5~6 years, the government is encouraging the voluntary participation of relevant agencies in all fields of pesticide management, and is intending to intensify the legal function and role.


There is a requirement for the pesticide products produced in domestic to take registration number, but not for imported pesticides, under present registration system. The issue on requirement of registration number for imported pesticides is reflected in the amendment of pesticide management regulation, so after approval of the amendment, all imported pesticides in the country shall be marketed only with getting the registration numbers.


There is a licensing system on storage of pesticide products. The pesticide products can be treated only by the licensed agencies in the country, and also the licensed material supplied agencies can store the pesticide products. When the cooperative farm or individual users storing not large amount of pesticide products, according to relevant regulations, they can store it in special pesticide stores or other establishment appropriate to pesticide storage, with labeling clearly, during restricted period.

Conclusion and comments

Some successes were achieved during the implementation of the Code of Conduct in the DPRK, and much experience has been accumulated in the field of pesticide management. Now, in order to increase the agricultural production and protect human health and eco-environment, the importance of pesticide management is emphasized. Now it is priority to strengthen the legal requirement and national control in this field.

To improve the pesticide management and reduce the hazardous effects by pesticide use is not merely for an individual country or region or an industry only, but it is an international work to prevent from the world environment pollution and promote the welfare of mankind. Especially, the developed countries should enhance their responsible roles in this field, as they became main suppliers in world pesticide markets. The DPRK government recognized the necessity of international cooperation in improving the national pesticide management and in intensifying its material and technical foundation, and hopes that the cooperation and collaboration will be more activated in this field in the future.

The DPRK government will make all possible efforts, in future, too, to fulfill its responsibility in implementing the international legislations like "International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides" in order to protect human health and eco-environment and ensure the sustainable development of agricultural production.


Democratic People's Republic of Korea

Selected Country Statistics:

Agricultural Population

6.4 million

Agricultural Land

2.7 million ha


Agric. GDP:

GNI per capita:

Hunger: 3%

FAOSTAT Pesticide Data




GDP= Gross Domestic Product; GNI = Gross National Income; Hunger = Population below minimum energy requirement; FAOSTAT = latest data entry between 1998 and 2002

Institutional Profile




















B Qual. C.

Industry Associations:
Non-Governmental Associations:

A. Pest and Pesticide Management

IPM policy declared?


IPM mentioned in...

Crop Protection Policy?


Agric. Sector Policy?


Other laws/documents?


National IPM Program?



IPM extension projects?


IPM research projects?


Pest resistance problems?


B. Testing, Quality Control and Effects

Laws for pesticide specifications?


Low quality products in market?


Quality control laboratory?


Own analyses in 2004:

Outside analyses in 2004:

C. Health and Environmental Information

Data on pesticide poisoning cases?


occupational exposure cases:

accidental exposure cases:

intentional/suicide cases:

Pesticide poison facilities?


Number of facilities:

Poison Information and Control Centers?


Number of centers:

Significant environmental contamination?


Data on effects on wildlife & ecosystems?


Pesticide residue monitoring system?


Number of analyses 2004:

D. Pesticide Manufacture, Use and Trade

Pesticide Volume


$'000 Value





Pesticide Use Profile


$'000 Value

Agriculture (total)






Public Health




E. Selected Standards of Code of Conduct

Illegal trade estimates?


Estimated amount 2004

Collection of old containers and pesticides?


Inventory of outdated/obsolete products?


Operational pesticide registration system?


Violations in 2004:

Existing facility licensing system?


Inspections in 2004:

Highly toxic products restricted?


Questionnaire responses: Yes = Yes; - = No;? = don't know; (blank) = no answer

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