Resilience Through Better Institutions

RBI work focuses on supporting the development of the organic sector in DPR Korea, paying special attention to food and nutrition security and the strengthening of organic agriculture practices.
Resilience Through Better Institutions

Project Timeline:

July 2018 - Feb 2022

Funded by:

European Union

Implementing Target Countries:

Democratic People's Republic of Korea

Partner Organisations:

Pyongyang International Information and New Technology Center (PIINTEC)


Resilience Through Better Institutions is one of three IFOAM - Organics International projects in DPR Korea.

The intervention began in 2012 under the BOKK I project and was followed by the BOKK II project, which ran until 2019. RBI work focuses on supporting the development of the organic sector in DPR Korea, paying special attention to food and nutrition security and the strengthening of organic agriculture practices.

Unsustainable agricultural practices have led to soil degradation and fertility loss, indicating continually decreases in food production capacity in DPR Korea. This situation is aggravated by a vulnerability to recurrent extreme weather events, particularly floods and droughts.

The 2017 Global Report on Food Crises estimates that 4.4 million people, or 17% of the DPRK’s population, can be classified as IPC/CH Phase 3 or higher (Population in Crisis, Emergency and Famine) while the food insecure population is estimated at 10 million or 39%. Vulnerability to food shock is high and there is an urgent need to enhance resilience and reduce the risk of food crises. Building resilience involves making investments to strengthen the absorptive, adaptive, and transformative capacities of vulnerable populations for coping with and recovering from specific shocks and stressors.

Organic agriculture has considerable potential to contribute to enhanced resilience against food shocks. The multi-faceted environmental and social benefits of organic agricultural systems are long-term and robust.


RBI’s goal has been to make organic agriculture more widely available to local stakeholders in the DPRK, which can be used to increase food and nutrition security.


The RBI project aims to support the DPRK’s organic sector on two levels. First, the project has provided support for organizational development of PIINTEC and strengthened its position as the focal point for the organic sector in the country.

Activities ranged from developing a strategic plan and providing project management training to supporting attendance at policy exchange events. RBI’s second objective has been to provide technical support to local stakeholders on subjects related to organic agriculture conversion.

The main in-country stakeholders are the Organic Agriculture Development Agency (OADA), Organic Agriculture Research Institute (OARI), Pyongyang Vegetables Research Institute (PVRI), and the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA).

Building on the achievements of previous and current EC-funded actions, this platform catalyzes action around the promotion and coordination of organic agriculture interventions during implementation. It will increase opportunities to share knowledge and raise awareness on organic agriculture amongst a broad range of stakeholders. This will be achieved primarily through in-country replication of established training and continuous content upgrades to the platform. Follow-up, regular monitoring, and review of common objectives, targets, and priorities as well as knowledge and capacity gaps will be integral to the platform’s success.

Through its role as resource organization and host of the Capacity Building and Networking Center for Organic Agriculture (CBNC), PIINTEC has become integral for developing organic agriculture in DPRK. IFOAM - Organics International has supported PIINTEX staff with capacity development, provided equipment to run the CNBC, and generated informational materials accessible via CBNC, both on- and offline. Strengthening institutions is necessary so that the agency can effectively fill the coordinator role for the national organic knowledge platform and to ensure the platform can function as intended. Additional capacity building in project management and monitoring and evaluation, as well as support for efficient in- and out-of-country networking, have been identified as ongoing needs.

Having a well established and productive organic model farm, with the potential to capitalize on relevant, locally adapted organic practices and lessons learned, is essential for building resilience in the approach hereby proposed. Ssangun Farm, an 800-hectare cooperative farm operated by OADA, was chosen as the model farm for an EC-funded action implemented by IFOAM - Organics International. The cooperation with Ssangun Farm and OADA started in the framework of the now concluded BOKK project. Ssangun Farm has been experimenting with organic practices since 2003 and has established an organic fertilizer plant and functional cropping systems.

The proposed action promoted awareness among government officials about the reasons that justify public support for organic agriculture. It covered the various available policy measures and built technical capacity using examples and guidelines on implementation scenarios, and created opportunities for exchange with foreign counterparts.