Some of North Korea’s fruit producing regions have fallen victim to ‘fire blight’, a very contagious disease that can shrivel and kill an entire fruit tree with a single infection. A source in South Pyongan Province said on July 6 that fire blight had recently hit several orchards in Sukchon County and Pyongwon County, major fruit producing regions. According to him, the disease is withering and killing apple and pear trees.
Fire blight, a form of bacterial blight, is a dangerous plant disease that withers leaves, stems and fruits, turning them black as if they were burned. Highly infectious with no real treatments available, the disease forces farmers to uproot all the trees within a 100 meter radius of an infected tree, burning them and burying the remains in the ground. Otherwise, they could lose their entire orchards.
The source said the disease spreads so fast that if symptoms appear, farmers have no choice but to burn and bury the entire orchard.