DPR of Korea: UN food agencies predict good harvest but say aid may still be needed

26 October 2001

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea could experience its best harvest in six years, but domestic food production is still under par and the country will likely require outside aid next year, two United Nations agencies said today.

In a new report, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the UN World Food Programme (WFP) say harvests are likely to improve thanks to favourable weather, greater investments in agriculture, improved farm machinery and increased supplies of fertilizer.

Despite this expected recovery, "domestic production will fall well below the minimum food needs and the country will again have to depend on substantial external food assistance next year as its capacity to import commercially remains highly constrained," the report states.

The report recommends that about 610,000 tonnes of food aid be mobilized for at-risk population groups, including children, pregnant and nursing women, and the elderly. It warns that in the absence of this aid, millions of people in the DPR Korea "will face hunger over prolonged periods with severe consequences for their health and welfare."

According to the report, cereal production is expected to reach some 3.54 million tonnes during the 2001-02 season - up 38 per cent from the previous year. Rice production will reach 1.34 million tonnes in 2001 - 22 per cent more than last year, while the maize harvest is projected to rise by 42 per cent to 1.48 million tonnes.

 

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