Neighbourhood unit runs orchard

There is an apartment house surrounded by fruit trees in Chilgol-dong No. 2 in Mangyongdae District, Pyongyang.

Though the orchard takes up only a small area, it is full of grapevines and dwarf peach, persimmon, apricot, plum and other fruit trees providing welcome shade and bearing fruits according to seasons to attract the eyes of passers-by.

Jang Ok Suk, head of the neighbourhood unit there, said that the place where the apartment house was built was a low hill with lots of rubble stones around it.

However, the residents carried and spread soil there little by little to plant flowering plants at first and started growing fruit trees some years later.

Just planting fruit trees could not make them bear fruits, said Jang.

“At first, we were very troubled as we lacked knowledge about cultivation of fruit trees,” said Ryu Myong Sim living in the apartment house. “So we learnt everything from books and brought experience from rural villages.”

Some husbands brought good compost and some housewives good species of fruit trees.

After three years of efforts, they harvested first fruits from the trees.

At that time, Jang Ok Suk divided the fruits among all the households of the neighbourhood unit, saying that they tend the orchard not for the benefit of some people but for the good of the neighbourhood unit as a whole.

The residents were delighted to receive fruits from season to season. Some were surprised to have such nice fruits picked from the small orchard and others said they tasted even more delicious as they were produced by their own efforts.

Now they also grow eggplant, red pepper and chives in the orchard.