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N. Korea ranks worst in undernourishment in Asia-Pacific region

North Korea 09:26 January 22, 2021

SEOUL, Jan. 22 (Yonhap) -- North Korea was ranked the worst in terms of prevalence of undernourishment among its population in the Asia-Pacific region, a report showed Friday.

According to the report jointly compiled by the Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Food Programme and other global agencies, more than 45 percent of the North's population was suffering from undernourishment from 2017-2019.

The proportion was the highest among Asia-Pacific countries surveyed. It was much higher than the corresponding figure of around 30 percent for the second-worst countries, such as East Timor and Afghanistan, the report showed.

The report also showed that only 28.6 percent of North Korean children aged 6-23 months were able to have the minimum acceptable diet (MAD), indicating that over seven out of 10 babies could not have a minimum amount of meals every day.

North Korea is known for chronic food shortages, which appear to have been aggravated in recent years due to extreme weather conditions and global sanctions. The coronavirus pandemic might have added to the strain by hampering its imports of key farming materials.

According to a report by a local think tank, North Korea is estimated to have produced around 4.4 million tons of food last year, down 5.2 percent from 4.64 million tons estimated for the previous year.

The 2020 estimate is some 1.1 million tons short of the 5.5 million tons experts see as necessary to feed its population every year.

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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