North Korea sees better harvest for 2nd year, but still faces shortages in fats, protein

Published on 12 November 2012

North Korea increased its production of staple foods for the second year in a row, thanks in part to better use of fertilizers and plastic sheeting to protect crops, but its citizens are still suffering from a serious lack of key proteins and fats in their diets, a U.N. report said Monday. A U.N. team visited all nine agricultural provinces of the communist state in September and October during the main cereal harvest and estimated that even with the increase — a 10 percent improvement over last year — North Korea will need to import 507,000 metric tons of cereals to meet its basic food needs in 2013 (…) And it recommended that North Korean farmers be allowed to sell or barter their surplus food at market, rather than turn their excess over to the state. Such incentives, which farmers recently reported were in the works, should encourage farmers to boost production, according to the joint report from the World Food Program and U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.

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