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North Korea opens massive greenhouse complex, but makes false claims about size

State media reported that North Korea opened the “world’s biggest vegetable farm” on Friday, emphasizing leader Kim Jong Un’s orders to replace “important military bases” with projects to address food shortages.

An aerial view of the Kangdong complex | Image: KCNA (March 16, 2024)

But NK Pro analysis suggests these claims misrepresent the size and nature of the construction project in an attempt to demonstrate the state’s concern for people’s well-being despite heavy investment in new weapons systems, HortiDaily notes.

State media coverage heavily focused on demonstrating mechanized processes inside large dome-shaped hydroponic greenhouses | Image: KCNA (March 16, 2024)

State media’s report on the ceremony claimed the “size and production capacity” of the Kangdong complex “are much bigger than the Ryonpho Greenhouse Farm” on the east coast, which Pyongyang previously said was the world’s largest when it officially opened in late 2022. However, NK Pro analysis of Planet Labs satellite imagery shows the Kangdong farm is actually slightly smaller than Ryonpho.

Read also: Greenhouse business expansion of Turkmenistan continues: tomatoes are now exported to Uzbekistan!

The footprint of greenhouses at Kangdong covers around 531 acres (215 hectares) versus around 578 acres (234 hectares) at Ryonpho. State media has claimed there are 830 narrow greenhouses averaging around 328 feet (100 meters) long at Ryonpho, calling these “semi-arched double-sheet hydroponic greenhouses.” NK Pro counted around 660 of this type at Kangdong, and Saturday’s report didn’t offer an official count.

Photoes: NK Pro

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