BEIJING - North Korea plans to allow farmers to keep more of their produce in an attempt to boost agricultural output, a source with close ties to Pyongyang and Beijing said, in a move that could boost supplies, help cap rising food prices and ease malnutrition.

The move to liberalize agriculture under new leader Kim Jong-un, who took office in December 2011 after the death of his father, would reverse a crackdown on private production that started in 2005. It comes amid talk that the youngest Kim to rule the impoverished North is considering reforms to boost the economy.

"Peasants will have incentive to grow more food. They can keep and sell in the market about 30-50 percent of their harvest depending on the region," said the source.

At present, most farm output is sold to the government at a state auction price that has diverged from the market rate.

The plans come as some websites run by North Korean defector groups have said the price of rice - a staple food - more than doubled at the end of August from the start of June.

Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger