FAO in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea

FAO funded projects help increase food security in DPR Korea


Pyongyang, DPR Korea – Major projects recently implemented by FAO in the DPR Korea such as conservation agriculture, improved seed production and reduction of post-harvest losses have boosted food security.

The Deputy Director General, International Organizations Department of Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPR Korea), Mr. Mun Jong Nam said targeted support from FAO has helped to increase food production gradually.

Mr. Mun revealed that despite the drought experienced in 2014, the country with the support of FAO produced 5.71 million tonnes of food which is 50,000 tonnes more than the production of 2013.

"Since the beginning of 2015 to today, the country has received 12,800 tonnes of food. This shows a scale down in food aid DPR Korea is receiving and we will continue to increase the food production to become self-sustaining," Mr. Mun told the FAO-DPR Korea delegation. The revelation was made at a consultation meeting between FAO and the Deputy Director General, International Organizations Department and Secretary General of the National Coordination Committee for International Organizations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of DPR Korea at the Kobangsan Guesthouse in Pyongyang.

Mr. Mun said the government of DPR Korea is paying more attention to the development of agriculture, fisheries and livestock this year as well as to potato farming. He informed the team that integrated crop-livestock farming system is being introduced into the county. He pointed out that DPR Korea is expecting a big drought and hence people of DPRK are preparing for the drought by digging wells and filling water reservoirs with water. He explained that the country needs large amount of plastic sheeting.

"We appreciate the effort of FAO to contribute to agriculture in DPR Korea," Mr. Mun said

The FAO Representative for the DPR Korea, Mr. Percy Misika said that FAO is working hard to mobilize resources and develop programmes aimed at continuing the success of these projects. He said that FAO is aware of the constraints faced by the DPR Korea in terms of accessing and procuring agricultural production inputs such as fertilizers, improved seeds, pesticides, plastic sheets and mechanization in terms of tractors, planters and related implements and machinery. He pointed out that the situation was being worsened by the political tensions in the Korean Peninsula that has made many traditional and potential new donors shy away from supporting development work in the country.

This notwithstanding, "FAO is trying its best through the limited funding it is currently able to secure from CERF and through its Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP). We are hopeful that two to three TCP projects could be approved this year,'' Mr. Misika told the Deputy Director General.

Over the past three decades, FAO implemented 200 projects with total funding of USD 64.4 million to boost the production of food. FAO has also supported DPR Korea in efforts to achieve food security through technical assistance in areas of agroforestry, soybean cultivation, fruit production, marine aquaculture and capacity building.

Mr. Misika informed the meeting that the improving economic conditions in DPRK show a silver lining in DPRK's dark cloud of food insecurity and pointed that it is good to hear that there is improvement in food production. He said it is ncouraging to know that irrespective of the drought, the country's food production increased to 5.71 million tonnes last year.

"If considered against the backdrop of serious challenges faced by DPR Korea and its development partners including the UN system, the country is on a slow but gradual recovery journey. The improvement in production shows the resolve of the Korean people led by its Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un who has managed to rally people behind him to support the country's development efforts. Any country that cannot feed itself cannot be said to be truly independent. The success of DPR Korea is in large part due to the hard work, commitment and dedication of Korean people and for that I congratulate the government," Mr. Misika said.

Mr. Misika encouraged the government of the DPR Korea to seize the opportunity presented by the China-FAO South South Cooperation (SSC) Programme which could benefit the country's agriculture, fisheries, forestry and natural resources sectors in terms of capacity building, transfer of appropriate technologies and practices.