LONDON – North Korea is facing severe food shortages due to the worst drought since 2001 with food imports needed to ensure children and the elderly do not go hungry, the United Nations’ food agency said on Thursday.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said rainfall in key producing areas fell well below the long-term average between April and June and badly affected staple crops, including rice, maize, potatoes, and soybean.
This disrupted planting activities and damaged the 2017 main season crops, according to an FAO report prepared with the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre.
The report said increased food imports, commercial or food aid, would be required over the next three months in the isolated nation to ensure adequate food supplies for the most vulnerable, including children and elderly.
Vincent Martin, the FAO representative in China and North Korea, said the drought was expected to seriously impact Nampo city and the provinces of South and North Pyongan and Hwanghae, which account for almost two-thirds of main season crops.
“Immediate interventions are needed to support affected farmers and prevent undesirable coping strategies for the most vulnerable, such as reducing daily food intakes,” Martin said in a statement.