According to North Korean authorities, the total agricultural yield including rice, corn, potatoes and others reached its highest point since the food shortages of the 1990s this year, at 4.7 million tons.
According to the Joongang Ilbo, a South Korean newspaper, a Chinese official involved in the agricultural business who had just gotten back from North Korea quoted a North Korean official as saying that they “had presumed the failure of last year’s harvest due to low temperatures in the Spring and Fall, but in fact recorded the highest level in recent years, 4.7 million tons.”
The Chinese official explained that, according to the North Korean official, “Thanks to the good weather last summer, the output of substitution crops increased, so total production sharply increased.”
Regarding this, a researcher from the Korea Rural Economic Institute, Kwon Tae Jin said in a telephone conversation with the Daily NK that, “When I visited Pyongyang in December of last year, Ri Il Sok, Director of the Foreign Cooperation Team in the North Korean Ministry of Agriculture said to me that grain output last year was 4.67 million tons, up by 17 percent over a year ago.”
Dr. Kwon explained that, “This output was estimated according to the sum of unthreshed grains, while the total threshed output is approximately 4.1 million tons. That is short by around one million tons based on the minimum amount recommended by the WHO that North Korea needs; 5.2 million tons. This amount includes grains for humans, seeds, and others for livestock and subsidiary foods.”