After floods, harvest still possible in north

From the Korea Times:

By Kim Sue-young

Torrential rain in North Korea last month destroyed 3,000 hectares of arable land and submerged 20,000 hectares, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

This year’s grain production will not be affected, however, when the inundated land dries, the organization predicted.

“The total area has been severely impacted and we calculated the total affected area is two percent of the total national crop area,” Cheng Fang, an Asian officer and economist in the Commodities and Trade Division at the FAO, said yesterday in an interview with Radio Free Asia (RFA).

Damaged crops included corn and beans but the flood will not harm the rice harvest when the water dries, he added.

“The land totally washed away, that means almost all crops are lost, but for the submerged areas, some production can be recovered, like rice,” he said.

People are concerned about the North’s flood damage as it cancelled the “Arirang Festival,” mass games set to start next month, due to the flood.

In addition, “Good Friends,” a private aid group for the North estimated 30,000 hectares of farmland destroyed, equivalent to 100,000 tons of lost food production.

Alistair Henley, regional director of the International Red Cross, however, refuted the toll Wednesday in an interview with RFA saying North Korea is less damaged than China.

“We’re dealing at the same time with bad floods here in China where we’re talking about at least tens of millions of people being displaced,” he said. “The situation in North Korea is absolutely, in no way, anything like that.”

Fang also said that we cannot forecast the flood will lead to poor crop production because 90 percent of crops are still on the submerged ground.

“I believe the North can gather a good harvest depending on the coming months’ weather conditions,” he stressed.


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