Power of RiceIn North Korea, there's this system called the Public Distribution System (PDS) that was supposed to give out food to everyone based on a set schedule and supply.
Starting in the 1980s, this system has been having problems, with the amount of food given out getting smaller and smaller. Although the plan was to distribute food twice a month, it often got delayed to once a month, or even skipped for several months. By the end of 1995, mainly because of economic troubles, the PDS pretty much stopped working, except for a special group of people who still received food.
In 2009, after they changed the currency system, the government tried to get the PDS going again to help control the economy better. But the restart didn't really work out and the food mostly went to people living in cities and those involved in politics, leaving others, like farmers and people living in the mountains, to find their own solutions.
Many started growing their own food and also buying and selling in the Jangmadang markets.