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Country Briefs

  Democratic People's Republic of Korea

Reference Date: 16-December-2016

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Favourable weather conditions at start of 2016/17 early cropping season

  2. Main season cereal crops in 2016 partially recovered from last year’s reduced level

  3. Higher cereal imports in 2015/16 marketing year (November/October)

  4. Floods in late August negatively impacted livelihoods and food security of affected households

Favourable weather conditions at start of 2016/17 early cropping season

Planting of the 2016/17 minor winter wheat and barley crops was completed in November. Remote sensing data indicates near-average precipitation since October over most of the country, which facilitated planting activities. Improved water availability in the main reservoirs, following good rains during the July-August rainy season, is also expected to benefit crop development.

Main season cereal crops in 2016 partially recovered from last year’s reduced level

Harvesting of the 2016 main season crops was completed in October. After a reduced cereal output in 2015 due to dry weather conditions, abundant rainfall during the cropping season and improved water availabilities for irrigation benefitted the 2016 main season crops. However, excessive precipitation in late August in northeastern parts of the country triggered localized flooding causing damage to about 28 000 hectares of standing crops (mostly paddy and maize), representing around 2 percent of the total area planted to the main season crops (see map). In addition to crop losses, floods caused severe damage to housing, infrastructure and the agriculture sector. Pending final official information, FAO estimates the 2016 rice production at 2.4 million tonnes, a recovery of 23 percent from last year’s drought-affected output but still below the previous three‑year average. Maize output in 2016 is estimated at near‑average levels.

Higher cereal imports in 2015/16 marketing year

FAO estimates the cereal imports for the 2015/16 marketing year (November/October) at 694 000 tonnes. This figure is almost four times larger than in 2014/15, mainly as a result of the reduced output in 2015.

Severe localized floods affected large number of people in northeastern parts

Reports indicate that, following late August and early September floods, at least 107 000 people were displaced and some 140 000 people were estimated in urgent need of relief assistance. Particularly affected were the areas in the North Hamgyong Province along the Tumen River and its tributaries. Official information indicates severe losses of stored crops and seeds, as well as small livestock, including pigs and poultry. Furthermore, standing crops from kitchen gardens, which contribute significantly to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s household nutrition and income, were also significantly affected. The adverse impact of the floods is expected to further deteriorate the already dire food security situation of the affected households.