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POST TIME: 14 December, 2018 00:00 00 AM
N Korea food production down in 2018: UN body
AFP, Seoul

N Korea food production down in 2018: UN body

Food production has fallen this year in isolated, nuclear-armed North Korea, according to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization. Rice and maize are the North's main staples, but rice output was expected to be below average because of erratic rains and low irrigation supplies, the FAO said in its quarterly Crop Prospects and Food Situation report. Unfavourable weather conditions also diminished maize yields, it added.

As a result the country would need to import 641,000 tonnes of food in the coming year, up from 456,000 tonnes this year, when it bought 390,000 tonnes and received 66,000 tonnes in food aid.

There was a widespread lack of access to food in the North, it said in the document. "Food insecurity continues to remain a key concern, with conditions aggravated by the below-average 2018 main season output," it said. Agricultural production is chronically poor in the North, which only has a limited supply of arable land.

The country has periodically been hit by famine, and hundreds of thousands of people died -- estimates range into the millions -- in the mid-1990s.