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Country Briefs

  Democratic People's Republic of Korea

Reference Date: 02-February-2024


  1. Favourable start of 2023/24 winter season

  2. Main season 2023 food crops benefited from well‑distributed and above‑average precipitation amounts

Favourable start of 2023/24 winter season

Sowing of the 2023/24 minor winter cereal crops, mainly wheat and barley, was completed in November 2023 and harvesting is expected to start next June. Weather conditions were overall favourable during sowing, except in the minor cereal producing Kaeson Province, due to excessive precipitation amounts in early November. As of mid‑January 2024, winter crops were in dormancy phase and in the main central and northeastern cropping areas, satellite images showed generally sufficient snow coverage,1 which is necessary to protect crops from freezing temperatures. Sowing of the 2023/24 spring wheat, barley and potatoes is expected to begin in March. Winter and spring crops constitute only 10 percent of the total annual production, but they serve as an important food source during the May to August lean period.

Main 2023 food crops benefited from well‑distributed and above‑average precipitation amounts

Harvesting of the 2023 main food crops, which account for 90 percent of total annual crop production and consist mostly of rice and maize, plus small quantities of soybeans, potatoes, millet and sorghum, finalized in October 2023. Seasonal rains started on time in early April and rainfall amounts were average to above average and well distributed between May and July, benefiting planting activities and supporting crop establishment and development. In mid‑August 2023, the passage of tropical depression Khanun brought heavy rains, with consequent flooding that caused localized crop losses in the central parts of the country. These rains, however, benefited crops in areas that were not affected by the floods. In early September 2023, just before the start of the harvest, vegetation conditions were mostly above average (VCI map) in key producing provinces of North and South Pyongan, North and South Hwanghae, and South Hamgyong, inferring to generally favourable yields.

Disclaimer: The designations employed and the presentation of material in this information product do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of FAO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

This brief was prepared using the following data/tools:
FAO/GIEWS Country Cereal Balance Sheet (CCBS)

FAO/GIEWS Food Price Monitoring and Analysis (FPMA) Tool .

FAO/GIEWS Earth Observation for Crop Monitoring .

Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) .


1 Snow coverage satellite information elaborated by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission.