Press release by the World Food Programme
Food Security: Overview
Despite improved harvests in recent years, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) continues to suffer widespread food shortages. Severe economic problems, limited arable land, lack of agricultural machinery and inputs and an acute energy crisis mean that cereal production remains well below the minimum required.
The 2006 deficit is forecast by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, WFP’s sister agency, at some 800,000 metric tons – about 15 per cent of needs. Many of the country’s 23 million people struggle to feed themselves on a diet critically deficient in protein, fats and micronutrients. Food is scarcest during the “lean season”, the five-month period prior to the autumn rice and maize harvests when stocks of the previous year’s crops rapidly run down.
While malnutrition rates have fallen since the late 1990s, they are still relatively high. The most recent large-scale survey, conducted in October 2004 by WFP, UNICEF and the government, found 37 percent of young children to be chronically malnourished, and one-third of mothers both malnourished and anaemic.
WFP assessments have consistently shown that while disparities in food availability between the food-surplus south and west of the country and the food-deficit north and northeast are severe, urban-rural disparities are even more pronounced. They were exacerbated by an economic adjustment process initiated in mid-2002 that triggered large-scale layoffs at ailing factories, steep cuts in pay levels and a rapid escalation in the market prices of staple foods. (...)
Source: WFP 2007
Large numbers of people dying of disease, malnutrition in North Korea: aid group
By Lee Joon-seung
SEOUL, July 25, 2007 (Yonhap) -- Large numbers of North Koreans are dying of disease brought on by chronic malnutrition, a humanitarian aid group claimed Wednesday.
The Seoul-based Good Friends said it is impossible to get exact figures but hundreds of people are dying of "non-natural" causes every month in Hamgyeong province on the east coast. (...)
SEOUL, Aug 21, 2007 (Yonhap) --
North Korea is likely to face a shortfall of more than 400,000 metric tons of food this year due to recent heavy floods in spite of massive outside aid, a U.S. government-funded radio station reported Tuesday.
Citing experts on North Korea, Voice of America reported that the communist country might run a deficit of 400,000 tons of food even if it receives aid from South Korea and the international community.
Devastating floods are believed to have destroyed a revised 14 percent of the North's farmland, South Korean officials said. South Korea, other countries and international agencies are extending a helping hand to the North. The number of dead and missing is estimated at more than 300, with the homeless numbering about 300,000. An estimated 46,580 homes of 88,400 families were destroyed or damaged, according to the North's media. (...)
FAO reported that NK’s food situation worsened
North Bucks E.Asia Harvest Trend
By Hwang Chang Hyun
The Food and Agriculture Organization has again pointed to the dire
state of North Korean agriculture, noting in its latest ‘Crop
Prospects and Food Situation’ report that the North is one of 35
countries in the world, six in Asia, suffering ‘widespread lack of
access to food’ and facing negative prospects for the future despite
an excellent harvest outlook for the broader East Asian region.
“Compared to the report published last June, North Korea’s food
situation worsened,” the report notes, before adding, “The harvest of
the 2012 early season crops was poor. A recent dry spell and floods
are expected to affect the main season food production. In addition
economic constraints and lack of agricultural inputs continue to lead
to inadequate food supplies.”
Conversely, while conceding that poor summer weather might affect end
results, “In Far East Asia, the latest projections point to an
aggregate crop harvest of approximately 376.5 million tons (including
milled rice), 5.8 million tones or some 1.6% higher than last year’s
The report adds that North Korea had obtained 43,000 tons of external
food aid as of the end of August, and imported 388,000 tons of grain.
Notably, the 43,000 tons was given predominantly via WFP by Brazil and
Sweden (corn) and Australia (wheat).
At the same time, the authorities have imported rice from China and
corn from Ukraine, Argentina and the EU.