Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

UN to contribute $400,000 to fight foot and mouth disease

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

UPDATE 1(2014-4-5): According to VOA and Yonhap, the DPRK has  submitted a report to the UN World Health Organization for Animal Health (OIE) on the outbreak of FMD:

The Voice of America (VOA) said that Pyongyang submitted a report to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), saying that the disease broke out at a cow farm in Cholwon county of Kangwon Province, near the boarder area with South Korea, on March 14.

Nine cows out of 52 were infected with FMD, and one of them died, it added.

It is the first time for North Korea to report FMD in cows. It has notified OIE of outbreak of FMD in pigs in February.

Last week, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said the foot-and-mouth disease in North Korea had spread fast, infecting four cows near the border with South Korea.

According to the VOA, the United States, Canada and Mexico will consider providing vaccination to help North Korea upon its request.

ORIGINAL POST (2014-4-3): According to Yonhap:

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) plans to provide US$400,000 to North Korea to help eradicate the rapidly spreading foot-and-mouth disease there, a U.S. radio report said.

The FAO also plans to send quarantine officials to North Korea after finalizing its aid program there, the VOA said.

Foot-and-mouth disease is an infectious and sometimes fatal disease that affects cloven-hoofed animals such as pigs, cattle, deer and sheep.

In February, the North’s state media reported that the country had culled 2,900 pigs as a preventive measure to stop the spread of the disease and buried about 360 others that had died from the disease.

Last week, the FAO said the foot-and-mouth disease in North Korea has spread fast, infecting four cows near the border with South Korea, according to the VOA.

Still, North Korea remained mum for over a month on South Korea’s offer of assistance to contain foot-and-mouth disease.

The North’s silence comes amid tensions on the Korean Peninsula over the exchange of fire by the rival Koreas across their disputed western maritime border, as well as Pyongyang’s threat of a nuclear test.

Pyongyang has also threatened to carry out a “new form” of nuclear test in anger over a United Nations condemnation of its recent ballistic missile launches. North Korea conducted nuclear tests in 2006, 2009 and 2013, drawing international condemnation and U.N. sanctions.

South Korea has vowed to continue humanitarian assistance to the North regardless of political tensions.

Read the full story here:
U.N. to provide US$400,000 to N. Korea over FMD: report
Yonhap
2014-4-3

Share

Fertilizer imports up to Feb 2014

Friday, March 28th, 2014

According to Yonhap:

The North brought in 13,769 tons of Chinese fertilizer in February, a whopping 13 times more than some 1,064 tons from a year earlier, according to the data compiled by the Korean Rural Economic Institute (KREI).

In the first two months of the year, Pyongyang imported 48,882 tons of Chinese fertilizer, which is far higher than 1,066 tons from the same period a year earlier, the data showed.

“The 2013 figure is unprecedented, as the North used to buy a limited amount in the winter season. It seems to be very proactive in securing fertilizer long ahead of its usual schedule, and that indicates farm output improvement is its top priority,” said KREI researcher Kwon Tae-jin.

In his New Year’s message, the North’s young leader Kim Jong-un stressed boosting food production, saying all efforts “should go for agriculture … in order to build a strong economy and to improve the people’s livelihoods.”

Last year, Pyongyang bought a total of 207,334 tons of fertilizer from China, down by 18 percent from the previous year.

Additional Information:

1. The United Nations and South Korean government have reported that domestic gain production is up in 2013.

2. The DPRK has also increased food imports from China in 2013.

3. Food aid from UN was down in 2013.

4. Food prices fell in last year. DPRK won appreciated in last year.

5. Kim Jong-un’s speech to subworkteam leaders.

6. Previous posts on ‘foood’.

7. Scott Snyder on DPRK-China trade.

Read the full story here:
N. Korea’s fertilizer imports from China soar in Feb.
Yonhap
2014-3-28

Share

Rice prices falling / won value rising

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

The Daily NK has just updated their very valuable tables of rice prices and exchange rates. Things appear to have improved for the won and for those who have to make purchases with it.

Here is the most recent data on the Won/US$ exchange rate:

 

DPRK-USD-ER-2014-3-24

 

In March 2013 it took approximately W8,700 to buy one US$. Today that number has fallen to as low as W7,300. Most of the won’s gain in value has taken place in the last month.  As of February 2014, the US$ was worth W8,400–meaning the Won/US$ exchange rate has fallen (the currency has appreciated) by appx 13% since then.

Since the Chinese Yuan trades in a narrow band around the US$, the data would look much the same in terms of the Chinese currency.

Of course what remains to be seen is how stable the rate will be going forward.

The Daily NK also offers time series data on the price of rice:

Rice-price-2014-3-24

According to the chart above, the price of a kilo rice has fallen from approximately W6,900 in March of 2013 to W4,000 in March 2014. A fall of 42% in the last year!

Share

Corn prices falling in DPRK

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

According to the Daily NK:

The price of corn in North Korea has fallen by nearly 1000 won, sources from inside the country report.

Over the past two years the price of corn has tended to remain at around half the price of rice, but a recent increase in rice distribution and an overall increase in purchasing power has seen the cost of corn plummet.

A source in Hyesan, Yangkang Province told Daily NK on the 11th that, “Corn cost 2000 to 2200 won in January and February but can now be bought for 1500 won. The price continues to fall, and less people are seeking it out in the markets, too.”

Furthermore, “People don’t think there’s any reason to buy corn if the price of rice is only 4000 won [per kilo]. Perhaps that’s why rice traders are doing far better in the markets than the corn traders.”

One kilogram of rice costs 4000 won in Pyongyang, 43000 won in Sinuiju and 4400 won in Hyesan; a respective drop of 200, 200 and 100 won from the previous month, the source alleged.

One kilogram of corn, on the other hand, can be bought for 1400 won in Pyongyang, 1550 won in Sinuiju and 1500 won in Hyesan; a 500-700 won drop from last month.

“It used to be that if the rice price was 4000 won then corn would be traded at around 2000 won. It appears now, however, that the corn price is falling irrespective of the rice price, and people are wondering why. They’re still not going out to buy it, though,” the source added.

It is thought that the significant drop in price may partly be the result of last year’s plentiful harvest and increased rice distribution in select regions, including Pyongyang.

Moreover, “When rice is expensive people get sick of corn and plan to eat rice again as soon as it becomes affordable. People are well aware that you get more value from purchasing rice, as a lot of corn is lost during the processing stage. For these reasons they’re not really buying that much corn at the markets.”

Cho Bong Hyun of the IBK Economic Research Institute told Daily NK, “Sanctions from the international community have resulted in the provision of more corn aid than rice aid. This means the price of corn falls more rapidly than the price of rice.”

“The people’s purchasing power is on the up because of the recent wage increases for laborers, which in turn has seen a greater preference for rice in the markets,” he said.

Read the full story here:
Corn Price Plummets as Demand Slows
Daily NK
2014-3-12

Share

DPRK fertilizer imports (2013 – Jan 2014)

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

According to Yonhap:

North Korea’s fertilizer imports from China skyrocketed in January from a year earlier, data showed Tuesday, pointing to Pyongyang’s efforts to increase agricultural output.

The North brought in 35,113 tons of Chinese fertilizer in January, a huge increase from 2 tons from a year earlier, according to the data by the Korea Rural Economic Institute (KREI).

Such an amount is unprecedented for January, as the impoverished communist country used to buy a limited amount of fertilizer in winter, according to KREI experts.

The January figure is also two times bigger than the 17,416 tons for December, according to the data.

“Different from its previous pattern of buying fertilizer in spring, North Korea seems to be taking a very proactive move to secure fertilizer a long time ahead of its usual schedule. This means that the North is putting a priority on improving its farm output,” said KREI researcher Kwon Tae-jin.

It is in line with its leader Kim Jong-un’s policy goal of boosting food production, experts said.

In his New Year’s message, the young leader said all efforts “should go for agriculture … in order to build a strong economy and to improve the people’s livelihoods.”

Last year, Pyongyang bought a total of 207,334 tons of fertilizers from China, down by 18 percent from the previous year.

“This year, the trend is expected to be reversed given the January data and the fact that China has lowered duties,” Kwon added.

Read the full story here:
N. Korea’s fertilizer imports from China soar in Jan.
Yonhap
2014-3-4

Share

UN WFP gives DPRK $3.2m assistance in Feb 2014

Friday, February 28th, 2014

According to Yonhap:

 The U.N. food agency has provided emergency food aid worth US$3.2 million for children and pregnant women in North Korea earlier this month, according to a news report.

The World Food Program (WFP) has given the emergency funding assistance in February, Washington-based Radio Free Asia reported Thursday, citing a spokesman handling North Korean affairs.

The U.N. body has said earlier that it will close five out of its seven factories within this month that produce nutritious biscuits due to a lack of funding, the report said, amid an apparent donor fatigue over North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs.

On Thursday, North Korea fired what appeared to be four short-range ballistic missiles off its southeast coast, South Korean officials said, in a suspected reaction to U.S.-involved military exercises in the South that Pyongyang condemns as a rehearsal for invasion.

The WFP said in November that food production in the North is estimated to have been around 5.03 million metric tons in 2013, up 5 percent from the previous year.

Still, the food security situation remains serious, with 84 percent of all households having borderline or poor food consumption, according to the U.N. food agency.

A few days ago, a report titled “Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO) 200532 “Nutrition Support for Children and Women” in DPR Korea” was released with additional data.

Read the full story here:
WFP gives US$3.2 mln in emergency aid to N. Korea: report
Yonhap
2014-2-28

Share

DPRK food situation improves slightly in 2013 / UNWFP donations at low

Friday, February 14th, 2014

According to Yonhap:

The food situation for North Korean people improved slightly last year thanks to increased food rations and more outside support, a report by the World Food Programme (WFP) said Friday.

According to the WFP report, about 46 percent of North Korean families consumed an “acceptable” level of essential nutrients in the October-December period of 2013.

About 17 percent were categorized as having “poor” food consumption, while the rest, about 38 percent, were defined as at the “borderline” level.

The report is based on a WPF survey of 119 North Korean families as well as the food agency’s interviews with North Korean authorities.

The 2013 figures mark a modest improvement from a year ago, when a similar WPF report put only 26 percent of North Koreans in the relatively well-to-do “acceptable” bracket.

About 50 percent were at the “borderline” level, while 24 percent were ranked as “poor” in the report on the food situation in the fourth quarter of 2012.

The better outcome in 2013 is attributable to more generous food rations as well as WFP’s continued nutritive support, the report noted, adding that the daily food rations for each North Korean grew to 390 grams in October last year, before further raising to 400 grams in the following two months.

Fewer North Koreans are expected to suffer food shortages in the first quarter of 2014, the report predicted, citing protein as the most needed nutrient for North Korean citizens.

Although the Yonhap report does NOT cite a source (!?!) I have found it and offer a link below:
Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO) 200532 “Nutrition Support for Children and Women” in DPR Korea (October – December 2013)
UN World Food Program
Other WFP docs can be found here.

At the same time, UN WFP assistance to the DPRK was at an all time low in 2013. According to Yonhap:

North Korea received record-low food aid from the United Nations food agency in 2013 due to sluggish contributions from the international community, a media report said Wednesday.

Some 38,000 tons of food were delivered from the World Food Program (WFP) to the impoverished communist country in 2013, some 30 percent of the agency’s target for the year, according to the Washington-based Radio Free Asia (RFA).

It was less than half the amount sent in the previous year and the smallest since 1996 when the agency began helping the North, the report said, adding it was attributable to the WFP’s failure to raise enough funds to achieve the goal.

The amount of the U.N. agency’s food aid to the North has been fluctuating from some 136,000 tons in 2008, 50,000 tons in 2010, 100,000 tons in 2011 and 84,000 tons in 2012, according to WFP data.

Citing its dark fund-raising prospects in 2014, the WFP told the RFA that most of its factories for producing nutrition biscuits for the people there were on the verge of shutting down in February.

The daily food rations for the people in the North came to some 400 grams per person last year, far lower than the minimum recommended amount of 600 grams and the North Korean regime’s target amount of 573 grams, the WFP said.

North Korea’s food production is estimated to have been at about 5.03 million metric tons in 2013, up 5 percent from the previous year, according to the WFP report posted on its website.

The food security situation, however, is still serious, with 84 percent of all households having borderline or poor food consumption, it added.

The North’s leader Kim Jong-un put an emphasis on food production in his New Year’s message last week, saying “all efforts should go for agriculture … in order to build a strong economy and to improve the people’s livelihoods.”

Read the full stories here:
N. Korea’s food situation better a tad in 2013: WFP
Yonhap
2014-2-14

WFP’s food aid to N. Korea hits all-time low in 2013
Yonhap
2014-1-8

Share

DPRK imports of Chinese grain up 5.9% in 2013

Monday, January 27th, 2014

According to Yonhap:

North Korea’s imports of Chinese grain increased 5.9 percent in 2013 from a year earlier, a South Korean think tank said Monday.

The Korea Rural Economic Institute said Pyongyang’s imports of Chinese flour, rice, corn and other grain products reached 298,257 tons in 2013, compared with 281,633 tons a year earlier.

North Korea’s food production is estimated to have been at about 5.03 million metric tons in 2013, up 5 percent from the previous year, the U.N. World Food Program said in November.

Still, the food security situation is still serious, with 84 percent of all households having borderline or poor food consumption, the U.N. food agency said in a report posted on its website.

Food aid from the UN is down in 2013.

Read the full story here:
N. Korean imports of Chinese grain up 5.9 pct last year
Yonhap
2014-1-27

Share

UN WFP assistance to the DPRK falls in 2013

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

According to Yonhap:

North Korea received record-low food aid from the United Nations food agency in 2013 due to sluggish contributions from the international community, a media report said Wednesday.

Some 38,000 tons of food were delivered from the World Food Program (WFP) to the impoverished communist country in 2013, some 30 percent of the agency’s target for the year, according to the Washington-based Radio Free Asia (RFA).

It was less than half the amount sent in the previous year and the smallest since 1996 when the agency began helping the North, the report said, adding it was attributable to the WFP’s failure to raise enough funds to achieve the goal.

The amount of the U.N. agency’s food aid to the North has been fluctuating from some 136,000 tons in 2008, 50,000 tons in 2010, 100,000 tons in 2011 and 84,000 tons in 2012, according to WFP data.

Citing its dark fund-raising prospects in 2014, the WFP told the RFA that most of its factories for producing nutrition biscuits for the people there were on the verge of shutting down in February.

The daily food rations for the people in the North came to some 400 grams per person last year, far lower than the minimum recommended amount of 600 grams and the North Korean regime’s target amount of 573 grams, the WFP said.

North Korea’s food production is estimated to have been at about 5.03 million metric tons in 2013, up 5 percent from the previous year, according to the WFP report posted on its website.

The food security situation, however, is still serious, with 84 percent of all households having borderline or poor food consumption, it added.

The North’s leader Kim Jong-un put an emphasis on food production in his New Year’s message last week, saying “all efforts should go for agriculture … in order to build a strong economy and to improve the people’s livelihoods.”

Here is the UNFAO November 2013 food security assessment.

Here is additional analysis from Benjamin Silberstein.

Here are previous posts on “Food“, “Agriculture“, “International Aid“, “International Aid Statistics“.

Read the full story here:
WFP’s food aid to N. Korea hits all-time low in 2013
Yonhap
2014-1-8

Share

North Korea’s evaluation of its 2013 economic policy

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

Institute for far Eastern Studies (IFES)
2014-1-3

North Korea concluded that despite international economic sanctions, its economic revitalization policy of 2013 was delivered as planned.

A report on the comprehensive evaluation of North Korean economy was featured in the Choson Sinbo, pro-North Korean newspaper based in Japan, on December 24. It pointed out that although DPRK-US relations worsened and resulted in tougher measures, “it provided the opportunity to mobilize the potential of the national economy.”

It reported that to be ready for a potential war, the farming process at cooperative farms was carried out early from the beginning of the year. In light industry and food industry, “stabilization of people’s lives” was championed as the main slogan in the drive to normalize raw material acquisition and production.

The news also reported, “factories, enterprises and cooperative farms are provided with conditions to conduct independent business activities,” and “economic management method was improved based on the principles that firmly adhere to the socialist economic system and the working mass as the owners of production activities to ensure the roles and responsibilities.”

In other words, the reinforcement of self-supporting system and introduction of a new method of operating a separate garden as a component of cooperative farms resulted in improved production and a 5 to 10 percent increase in the grain harvest per unit against the previous year.

In particular, the news emphasized that “this year is considered as the year of construction,” and boasted the construction of high-rise apartments and various cultural and sports facilities including horse riding tracks and water parks. Especially, Masikryong Ski Resort in Gangwon Province was announced to have gathered national and international attention.

Furthermore, the news recaptured the new policy of parallel “economic construction and nuclear arms development” announced in March 2013 and reported that “despite the hostile forces that concluded that the policy of parallel development was ‘infeasible’, the people are witnessing and feeling the changes taking place in the capital city through the new policy of parallel development that strengthened national defense with reduced cost to fully exert all efforts to rehabilitate the economy.”

In addition, the news also reported on the 13 economic development zones (EDZs) and analyzed that the EDZ policy “laid the foundation for foreign economic development that incorporated the changes in the international situation.”

Meanwhile, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on December 28 that an enlarged meeting for the plenary of the Cabinet was recently opened to discuss the issues of resolving the food crisis through improved agricultural production and new agricultural sector tasks for 2014. This is rare for a Cabinet plenary meeting to be held exclusively to discuss the agricultural issue, as all economic issues are normally handles at this meeting.

Share