Press Release 97/27

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Press Release 97/27

NORTH KOREA URGENTLY NEEDS 50 000 TONS OF FERTILISER TO BOOST RICE PRODUCTION, FAO SAYS


ROME, June 30 -- The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has launched an international appeal for the supply of about 50 000 tons of fertiliser to North Korea. The fertiliser should be distributed to farmers for rice cultivation for an area of over 500 000 hectares, FAO said today.

Through the delivery of fertiliser within the next six weeks and by latest 25 July for the present planting season, rice production could be increased by about
370 000 tons or 24 percent, according to FAO. The delivery would be co-ordinated and monitored by FAO.

This would ensure a total rice supply for around 60 days. The costs are estimated at $11 million. In comparison, $11 million would cover the costs of only 36 000 tons of rice for the minimum food needs of the population.

Without international assistance North Korea will face “an important fertiliser gap” this year, FAO said. In 1996 only up to 30 percent of the country’s fertiliser needs were covered.

An FAO/World Food Programme (WFP) mission to North Korea reported recently that food rations are running out. Food rations have been only 100 to 200 grams per person per day since early this year, compared to a minimum requirement of 450 grams. Malnutrition has become chronic and life-threatening.


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