There are numerous intellectuals in the DPRK, who are making the country prosperous with their scientific and technological contributions.
Yu Son Ok, department chief of the Botanical Institute under the State Academy of Sciences, is one of such intellectuals.
She was a lecturer in veterinary science and animal husbandry at the Sukchon College of Agriculture in the mid-1980s, when she switched her principal subject to biological agrochemicals.
At that time, the infestation of harmful insects caused great damage to the country’s farming, resulting in the reduced crop yields, and the use of chemical insecticides decreased soil fertility.
Yu felt compelled to give a solution to farmers’ dilemma and made a bold decision to develop insecticides.
What she could learn through documentary studies, however, was that there was no other method than to use chemical insecticides for pest control.
She made painstaking efforts to find out a suitable way of pest control without giving harmful effects on soil fertility. She finally hit on an idea that plants, like animals, have their natural enemies and hence specific defensive functions, and began her study.
She was always pressed for time, conducting education and research in parallel, and she got into the habit of sleeping only two hours a day since.
She hardly spent her time at home, but in mountains, fields, and laboratories to make component analysis of over 1,000 species of plants and selected 200 odd plants whose ingredients are the sources of the substance for killing harmful insects.
She conducted countless experiments and endured bitter feelings of agony from repeated failures. But she never gave up and persevered with her work. At last she produced a biological agrochemical Myongnok, which controls 80 odd harmful insects.
Myongnok was greatly welcomed by farmers.
Not content with it, Yu continued her study of synthesizing new agrochemicals and produced several years later Myongnok-3 with seed sterilizing and other additional functions.
In 2010 she succeeded in making a natural biological activator with resources available at home. Her new product contains more than 350 nutritive elements and organic substances, all conducive to helping the crop absorb sufficient amounts of nitrogen and other growth-promoting nutrients in the air and increasing the crop yield.
WIPO officially recognized this natural biological activator as a world’s natural green environment-friendly organic compound fertilizer in 2017 and awarded Yu and her research team WIPO medals for invention.
Yu has so far developed nine biological agrochemicals and four of them won national patents.
In high appreciation of her meritorious contribution the state conferred on her the title of Merited Scientist and February 16 Science and Technology Prize, top honour for scientists and technicians.
Yu Son Ok is 65 years old, but she never feels exhausted in her scientific research.