Food prices continue to increase

According to an AFP report that cites Good Friends:

Good Friends, citing its own contacts in the reclusive North, said prices for rice and corn doubled last week at markets in the capital Pyongyang and in the eastern port city of Chongjin.

Rice prices ranged from 120-150 won per kilogramme (2.2 pounds) in Pyongyang and 110 to 140 won in Chongjin last week — up from 40 to 50 won reported on December 30, the group said.

Corn also traded higher at 70-75 won last week — up from 20-25 won on December 30 in the areas, it added. Seoul’s unification ministry, handling cross-border issues, could not confirm the data.

The official exchange rate is 135 won to the dollar but the black market rate is between 2,000 and 3,000 won.

The report came as the World Food Programme struggles to raise relief funds for the food shortage-hit North.

Major donors — including South Korea and the United States — refuse to help in protest at its second nuclear test in May last year.

Statistics available at the WFP website display it raised 89.8 million dollars as of late last month, around only 18 percent of its target of 492 million dollars in relief funds for the communist North.

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Food prices soaring in N. Korea: group


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