N. Korea's food crisis likely to worsen as COVID-19 limits food imports


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As it continues to battle shortage in food production, North Korea is probably struggling even more as the situation is worsened by the lack of food imports due to the COVID-19 led border closure.
Our Hong Yoo has an analysis.
This year, North Korea is expected to record its lowest rice production since 1994.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's rice outlook for the regime is worse than last year.
It expects North Korea to produce around 1-point-36 million tons of rice.
That is a drop of 18-thousand tons compared to the year before.
North Korea's rice output has been falling since 1994 when it produced around 1-point-5 million tons.
Considering the shortfall between supply and demand for rice in North Korea, the U.S. Agriculture Department predicts the regime will have to import 220-thousand tons of rice.
And its not just rice that the North is short of, but food in general.
A Unification Ministry official said on Tuesday that North Korea is likely to be 860-thousand tons short of food as the regime produced only 4-point-69 million tons of crops last year, below the 5-point-5 million tons required to feed its population.
With its borders shut to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Pyeongyang's food crisis is likely to get worse.
North Korea imports a huge part of its food supply from other countries such as China. And the other amount is covered through domestic farming. So as imports are limited, the regime has no other option but to distribute less food to its people."
In efforts to overcome the food crisis, North Korea is focusing on raising rabbits.
North Korea's official newspaper Rodong Sinmun reported Wednesday that it is encouraging people to raise rabbits.
The expert said rabbits are a main source of protein for North Koreans.
And there is also help from the North's neighbors.
The Russian ambassador to North Korea said on Thursday that Russia has provided 25-thousand tons of wheat to help the North cope with the food shortage and is planning for another shipment in the near future.
Hong Yoo, Arirang News.

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