DPR of Korea - WFP/FAO/UNICEF Rapid Food Security Assessment Mission


Mission Highlights

- DPRK has suffered a series of shocks in recent months, leaving the country highly vulnerable to a food crisis. The Public Distribution System (PDS) will run out of food at the beginning of the lean season - May, June, July. This will substantially increase the risk of malnutrition and other diseases, particularly in food deficit counties.

- More than six million vulnerable people are in urgent need of international food assistance, due to a substantial reduction of agricultural production and commercial imports, as well as a decrease or curtailment of bilateral assistance.

- Most vulnerable to food insecurity are: children; pregnant and lactating women; elderly; large families with a high dependency ratio (i.e. few income earners, but many children and elderly dependants); people unable to work because of prolonged or chronic illnesses, particularly those with tuberculosis (TB); and people with disabilities.

- The mission recommends provision of a total of 297,000 MT of cereals and 137,000 MT of fortified blended food to 6,100,000 vulnerable people. First priority is to assist vulnerable people living in the five most food-insecure northern and eastern provinces. Second priority is to assist vulnerable people living in the food deficit counties of the other provinces.

- The PDS currently provides an average of 381 gm of rice and maize, equivalent to only 1314 kcal, which is about one-half the minimum daily energy requirement for DPRK.

- PDS dependants are currently coping with reduced rations by relying on relatives living in rural areas; reducing the number of meals consumed in a day, decreasing the portion size; and increasing utilization of wild vegetables.

- The total 2010/11 staple food production is approximately 4,252,000 MT. This figure is 232,000 MT below that reported by the 2010 CFSAM, mainly due to prolonged cold winter which will reduce the harvest of winter wheat, spring barley, and potato.

- A higher than normal proportion of potato seed in winter storage has been damaged. The Mission estimates that the 2011 spring season production will be 60 percent of planned.

- Production of pickled vegetables (kimchi) has been reduced due to the heavy rains in August and early September. Kimchi comprises an important food component of the diet, particularly in the winter months.

- There is a cereal import requirement of 1,086,000 MT for the 2010/11 marketing year, which is 219,000 MT higher than the 867,000 MT anticipated by the CFSAM 2010.

- The commercial import capacity of DPRK in 2010/11 has been reduced as a result of reductions in export earnings, as well as higher international food and fuel prices. The government currently plans to import 200,000 MT of cereals, a reduction of 125,000 MT from the 325,000 MT that was informed to the CFSAM mission in October 2010. As of end- January, the government had imported only 40,000 MT out of 200,000 MT in their revised plan.

- The reduction of bilateral food assistance in recent years has had a substantial impact on food and nutrition security.

- A package of health and nutrition interventions is needed for mothers and children in order to improve nutrition security.

- Improved water supply and sanitation are needed in all baby homes, orphanages, primary and secondary boarding schools, as well as hospitals, nurseries, primary schools, hospitals, and rural clinics.

- Agricultural interventions are needed to improve food security in the short and medium term, including potato storage and grain drying, as well as measures to address the Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak

- Improved monitoring and reporting will be critical to ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of support provided.