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N. Korea faces food shortage of 860,000 tons: U.N. agency

North Korea 09:35 July 07, 2021

SEOUL, July 7 (Yonhap) -- North Korea is expected to face a food shortage of around 860,000 tons this year, a U.N. agency said Wednesday, raising worries that its people could go through a "harsh lean period" in the coming months.

According to a report posted by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on the webpage of its Global Information and Early Warning System, North Korea is projected to produce a "near-average level" of 5.6 million tons of grains this year.

The North still needs an additional 1.1 million tons of grains to feed its population, and given the "commercial imports officially planned at 205,000 tons," the North will likely face a food shortage of around 860,000 tons, the report said.

"If this gap is not adequately covered through commercial imports and/or food aid, households could experience a harsh lean period from August to October, when the 2021 main season crops will be available for consumption," the report said.

North Korea is known for chronic food shortages, which appear to have been aggravated last year due to back-to-back typhoons and flooding in key farming areas.

At a key party meeting last month, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un acknowledged that his country is facing a "tense" food shortage.

A think tank in Seoul earlier said the North could be faced with a food shortage of around 1.3 million tons this year.

Food situations could get worse as North Korea is showing little signs of easing its prolonged tight border controls put in place to keep the coronavirus pandemic at bay, which appears to be hampering normal flows of imports to the country.

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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