North Korea likely to face shortage of 340,000 tons of grain this year, according to report, which estimates that nation will need nearly 5.4 million tons of grain in 2014

Nevin Barich

Nevin Barich

Feb 3, 2014 – Yonhap News Agency

SEOUL, South Korea , February 3, 2014 () – North Korea is likely to face a shortage of 340,000 tons of grain this year, a report showed Sunday, which would mean another year to its chronic food scarcity.

The report contributed to the Korea Development Institute said Pyongyang is estimated to need some 5.37 million tons of grain this year.

The estimate was based on assumptions that the population of the communist country is 24.8 million and that each person consumed an annual average of 175 kilograms of grain in 2013.

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Program, who had visited the North for about two weeks in late September to survey food production, forecast the communist country's grain production at 5.03 million tons this year.

"While North Korea can cover a shortage of 300,000 tons with imports, it will have to rely on international aid for the remaining 40,000 tons," the report written by the Korea Rural Economic Institute said.

The report noted that the country's grain production in the last few years falls far short of 6 million tons during the 1980s.

It said while North Korea is making efforts to cultivate food from all arable lands, the country is suffering losses in productivity due to soil erosion and floods.

North Korea suffers from chronic food shortages with the average amount of rice and corn consumed by the people said to be only half of the daily consumption recommended by the United Nations.

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