Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) has confirmed that the drought that had been inflicting damage on Korean Peninsula agriculture since April has been broken by the arrival of summer rains.
According to KMA analysis, the “Okhotsk high” caused there to be very little precipitation in North and South Korea right up until late June. However, a sharp drop in pressure on the 29th and 30th brought the rains on, and 60mm of rain fell across much of North Korea as a result.
Rain was particularly heavy in the provinces of North and South Hwanghae, where there had been just 10% of average year rain fall until the summer rains arrived, but in the past two days the situation has dramatically improved. In Sariwon, Shingae, Haeju, Kaesong and rural areas of Hwanghae, places which had seen just 10-20mm of rain between the 1st and 28th of last month, 80mm fell in just two days.
As a result, rice planting is expected to proceed well, and the harvest should escape harm. Kim Young Hun, a researcher at the Korea Rural Economic Institute, said, “Because the drought persisted for a long time in Hwanghae Province, the rice planting could have been significantly delayed; however, due to large amounts of rain in late June, the drought has been beaten and rice farming does not appear to have been affected, apart from the delayed schedule.”
However, crop yields are expected to fall in comparison with the average year. Korea Rural Economic Institute (KREI) recently predicted 20% and 10% declines in wheat and potato yields respectively, and as much as 30% for early corn.
In addition, observers say that up until the harvesting period starts in October, food shortages will continue.