DPRK Monthly Update - Aug 2003

Situation Report
Originally published

Resourcing and Pipeline
Overall pipeline shortfalls of about 110,000 mt are projected for the next six months (September through February 2004), of which about 90,000 mt are cereals.

Pipeline shortages, which have had a serious impact on WFP's activities since the second quarter of 2003, continue to cause concern for the remainder of the year. This affected children in nurseries, kindergartens and primary schools, pregnant and nursing women, the elderly and caregivers in child institutions in most provinces, whilst children in orphanages and paediatric hospitals were covered.

The DPRK government has assisted WFP by loaning 14,100 mt of cereals from Government stocks to cover distribution needs during August and September. The initial loan of 9,700 mt was used to cover VGF distributions for both the east and west coasts for the first half of August. Due to unavoidable delays in the RoK shipments to the east coast, a second loan of 4,300 mt was agreed to cover VGF needs on the east coast through to the end of August. A third loan of 1,300 mt of cereals has now been requested in order that no further distribution cuts are required for east coast beneficiaries in September. WFP will repay the full amount of this loan when subsequent RoK shipments of maize arrive.

An expected delay in the arrival of wheat to be purchased with the USD 10mn cash contribution from Russia will lead to a break in the cereals pipeline from mid October.

Commodities yet to be resourced include cereals (89,000 mt), CSM (8,000 mt), sugar (3,000 mt), pulses (7,000 mt) and oil (2,500 mt). Unless new contributions are forthcoming, local food production factories will cease to function from October as stocks of constituent commodities are depleted.

Agricultural Prospects

The double cropping system has been highly encouraged by the government, particularly on the West Coast. Pest infestation continued to be reported on the West Coast, 20-70% of rice and maize fields were affected. With little chemical pesticides available, traditional methods were being used with limited efficiency. The main farming activities during the reporting period were preparation of organic manure for the next cropping cycle, weeding and transplanting of autumn vegetables.

Main crops are reported to have been growing well, being attributable to favourable weather conditions, i.e. adequate rainfall and suitable temperatures. In some counties, however, excessive rainfall led to flooding of maize and paddy fields, with strong winds causing the crops to bend. Overall, it is still too early to determine whether the rice production will be as good, or better, than last year. The upcoming FAO/WFP Crop and Food Assessment Mission, scheduled to arrive in the last week of September will be better able to prepare an estimate of the 2003 main crop.

Operational Review

High malnutrition rates were reported in Ryanggang Baby Home and Childrens Centre with only 20% and 30% of the enrolled children reaching the national standards.

The PDC ration for this month was 380grams/person/day, composed of rice, maize and potatoes at varying proportions. Large quantities of bilateral donated RoK rice were distributed through PDC, with the quality thereof being reported as excellent, according to supplies seen in the PDCs.

Widespread delays continue to be recorded concerning the transportation of WFP commodities. These delays result in beneficiaries experiencing unnecessary gaps in the availability of WFP food.

Emergency assessments were conducted in Sinyang and Songchon counties, South Pyongan Province. The first installment of 120 mt for a FFW emergency road rehabilitation project in Sinyang has already been delivered, whereas the Songchon case was not considered an emergency and referred to the normal FFW project cycles.

The Field Operations Unit Mid-term Review took place on 18 August. This provided a forum for the regional teams to share experiences, review achievements, discuss how to overcome or minimize the effects of practical constraints, and to identify areas where improvements can be made.

The last TV satellite dish has been installed in Sinuiju suboffice. All the 5 sub-offices now have satellite dishes installed, which has greatly improved the living conditions in the field.

Monitoring and Access

A total of 424 visits to families and child institutions were conducted in August. In order to expand the monitoring coverage, 4 visits per day continued to be implemented in 32 counties, representing 25% of the monitored counties. Only 1 VGF monitoring was cancelled in August.

Monthly Monitoring Visits

August 2003
August 2002
LFP Factories
Family visits

Access as at end August 2003

No Access
Total Counties


As of end August, a total of 94 project proposals were received from FDRC for the autumn season, of which 57 are on the east coast and 37 on the west coast. Following technical scrutiny thereof, 85 proposals will be submitted to the Project Review Committee. Presently, the total food requirement is 18,960mt, with 46% on the west coast, and 54% on the east coast. Non-vulnerable counties compose 8.8% of the current total resources.

On 06 August, a preparatory workshop for the FFW autumn season activities was held in Kusong County, North Pyongan Province.

Local Food Production

Total production in August was approximately 4,200 mt, more than half of this includes Corn Soya Blend (CSB) and Cereal Milk Blend (CMB), the enriched blended food intended for the youngest children in baby homes (orphanages) and nurseries.

Following receipt of a contribution of 1,471 mt of DSM from the USA, the CSB and CMB recipes have reverted to their original composition, i.e. adding additional DSM.

LFP factories on the east coast resumed production, following receipt of a loan of 830mt of wheat from Government. Several CSM factories halted production, after maize stocks were depleted, however, production will be restarted once the RoK maize has been received.

Stocks of constituent commodities, especially wheat, rice and sugar are running low in most LFP factories as delays continue to occur in the arrival of confirmed contributions.


Ms. Kathi Zellweger of Caritas HK undertook a field visit to the North East from 20 August, including North and South Hamgyong Provinces. Visits were made to child institutions, cooperative farms and hospitals. During her mission she continues to have meetings with in-country representatives of humanitarian agencies and government officials.

The Canadian Food Grains Bank, in collaboration with Caritas Hong Kong, signed an agreement with FDRC for the provision of 2,120mt of Canadian wheat flour as supplies for the production of locally-produced Cereal Milk Blend (CMB). The total value of this grant is approximately USD 890,000. The consignment is expected to arrive in DPRK by the end of September. The main beneficiaries of the CMB will be children in Nurseries, Kindergartens and provincial Children's Institutions on both West and East Coast provinces.

ACT/Diakonie-Germany signed an agreement with the FDRC for the provision of 130 mt of sugar. The total value of this grant is approximately USD 38,000. The sugar will be utilised in the WFP supported Pyongyang CSM/CMB and RMB factories. Arrival is anticipated to take place around the middle of September.

Commodity Arrivals

A total of 48,188 mt of commodities arrived in August:

  • 2,200 mt of vegetable oil (USA) at Chongjin and Nampo ports and by rail from Dalian, China.
  • 5,746 mt of DSM (USA) arrived at Nampo and Hungnam ports.
  • 33,674 mt of maize (RoK) arrived at Nampo port.
  • 5,911 mt of pulses (CAN and USA) arrived at Chongjin port and at Sinuiju/Namyang by rail from Dalian, China.
  • 657 mt of rice (USA) arrived at Namyang by rail from Dalian, China.

Staffing Update

At the end of August, the WFP international staff contingent was 42, with the departure of Ms. Evaline Diang'a, Targeting Officer and Ms. ThiVan Hoang, Head of Targeting. Ms. Anette Kirkeboe, Targeting Officer, arrived during the month to take up her post. This figure includes 4 international staff on local SSA.