Barley, School Lunches and Quilts Slated for North Korea
Four hundred metric tons of barley seed plus fertilizer are being shipped this month in time for late winter planting. In the hands of North Korean farmers, the $500,000 gift will yield a harvest of over 11,000 tons, according to a University of Minnesota professor and frequent visitor to North Korea who is advising the effort. The agencies calculate that the seed, which is also from Minnesota, will produce enough food to feed 50,000 people for one year at better than current emergency levels. LWR's contribution is $25,000.
A portion of the barley seed will be designated for a cooperative farm which LWR is already helping. Double-cropping with barley was successful last year under other smaller programs, including one that LWR supported.
Meanwhile, the United Nations says all North Korea's children are at risk of famine and is making plans to feed nearly twice as many people there in 1998 as last year. A January appeal, the largest in U.N. World Food Programme history, aims to provide 600,000 tons of grain to feed 7.5 million people. Included is a school lunch for every child in North Korea under the age of twelve. The expanded aid comes in the third year of severe food shortages, with last year's meager harvests projected to run out in April.
LWR is also sending 50,400 quilts valued at almost $600,000 to North Korea, pending license approval from the U.S. Commerce Department. The shipment and distribution of quilts will be handled there by UNICEF, which assists scores of children's centers and orphanages with medicines, clothing and relief goods.