FAO in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea

FAO supports conservation agriculture in DPR Korea


The Food and Agriculture Organization Representative in the DRP Korea, Mr. Percy W. Misika met with the Vice Minister of Agriculture of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Ms. Ko Myong Hui and exchanged views on the food security situation in the country as well as issues related to the FAO-DPRK's current and future partnership for ensuring sustainable agriculture development, food security and improvement of rural livelihoods of the people of the DPR Korea.

The FAOR was in the country to interact with government authorities, consult Government and listen to challenges and opportunities faced by the country in the fields of agriculture, forestry, fisheries and natural resource management and also exchange views on priority areas that the DPR Korea wants FAO to focus on.
The meeting built on the two partners' shared vision for a food secure DPR Korea with sufficient safe and nutritious food, and the reduction of the absolute number of people suffering from hunger. The Vice Minister and Mr. Misika agreed to consider agro-forestry, and combination of agriculture with livestock and aquaculture in the next phase of partnership.

The Vice Minister informed Mr. Misika that the government of the DPR Korea wants to invest more resources and technical skills into greenhouse nursery farms. She further informed that the government is also concentrating on organic farming, mushroom and potato farming with the aim of increasing yield per hectare.

This is against the backdrop of the success of the FAO implemented projects of conservation agriculture, post-harvest losses handling and improved seed system development. The seed project with a total funding of 1.7 million USD improved food security and nutrition for 10 416 cooperative farmers on six demonstration farms, increased seed production by 25 percent and increased the quality standard of the seeds from 13 to 20 percent. Post harvest losses were halved during the Reduction of Post Harvest Losses for Food Security project which benefited 6 804 farmers directly.

However, more needs to be done in the areas of food and nutritional security, improving natural resource management, improving rural livelihoods, coping with climate change and strengthening institutional capacity for agriculture research, extension and administration.

This could be achieved with continued funding. FAO needed 77 831 066 USD to implement 94 projects during the period 2012-2016. So far with implementation of 6 TCP, 10 emergency and 4 development projects, FAO mobilized a total of 17 092 027 USD and the DPR Korea government contributed 1 307 183 USD. The total resource mobilized by FAO and government is 19 400 109 USD (25 percent) and leaving a resource gap of USD 58 430 957 (75 percent).

Ms. Ko said the DPR Korea harvested about 5.71 million tonnes of food in 2014. This is some 50 000 tonnes more than the 2013 recorded harvest. She said this was partly contributed by the FAO's support provided to the DPR Korea towards sustainable agriculture development.

"I want to commend FAO for the cooperative assistance in the agricultural sector especially since DPRK has suffered from recurrent natural disasters and from a shortage of agricultural production inputs due to sanctions imposed on my country by hostile forces. FAO offered support to the cooperative programs and this work is going on. The plastic sheets and soybean seeds provided by FAO are also helping the farmers and have boosted production," Ms. Ko said.

Mr. Misika acknowledged the hard work, dedication and energy of the people of the DPRK to achieve this harvest despite the prolonged dry spell. "We were not expecting good yields from the crop harvest. I have been pleasantly surprised that despite the prolonged dry spell, the country produced 5.71 million tonnes which was 50 000 tonnes more than the production of 2013. I am glad to hear that the 50 000 hectares pasture development farm project at SEPHO is progressing smoothly and that it is about to be completed. This morning we went to the Academy of Agricultural Science and we saw how the country is trying to move forward with sustainable rice intensification," Mr. Misika said.

He added that mobilizing funding for FAO's work in the DPRK has been tough due to the political tensions in the Korean Peninsula and the current sanctions the country is facing. While this affected FAO programme development and implementation, he said it is encouraging that there is some warming up of hearts by some donors which have recently shown interest in supporting DPRK's agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors.

"There are indications that the five project proposals submitted to the government of ROK including two that were initiated by FAO headquarters, are receiving positive consideration although not yet conclusive. We hope that some of these would be approved soon and that in future we will be able to work on concrete programs in the country with the support of donors," Mr. Misika told the DPRK delegation.

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 best practices.