GIEWS Country Brief: Democratic People's Republic of Korea 16-September-2016

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  • Main season cereal crops in 2016 expected to partially recover from last year’s reduced level
  • Higher cereal import requirement in 2015/16 marketing year (November/October)
  • Floods in late August negatively impacted livelihoods and food security of affected households

Main season cereal crops in 2016 to partially recover from last year’s reduced level

Harvesting of the 2016 main season crops is ongoing and will continue until mid‑October. Generally favourable weather conditions during the season benefitted crops, although excessive precipitation in late August in northeastern parts of the country triggered localized flooding, causing loss of lives, as well as severe damage to housing, infrastructure, and the agriculture sector. A comprehensive evaluation of the crop damage is not yet available, but preliminary official estimates indicate that 27 411 hectares of standing crops (mostly paddy and maize), representing only 2 percent of the total area planted to the main season crops (see map), have been damaged. Prior to the floods, the 2016 rice production was forecast by FAO at 2.4 million tonnes, a recovery of 23 percent from last year’s drought-affected output but still below the previous three‑year average. Similarly the 2016 maize output was expected at near‑normal levels.

Higher cereal import requirement in 2015/16 marketing year

FAO estimates the cereal import requirement for the 2015/16 marketing year (November/October) at 694 000 tonnes. This figure is almost four times larger than in 2014/15, mainly as the result of the reduced output in 2015.

Severe localized floods affected large number of people in the northeastern parts

Reports indicate that following late August and early September floods at least 107 000 people were displaced and some 140 000 people are estimated in urgent need of relief assistance.

Particularly affected were the areas in the North Hamgyong province along the Tumen River and its tributaries. In the most affected areas, severe losses of stored crops and seeds, as well as small livestock, including pigs and poultry, are reported. Furthermore, standing crops from kitchen gardens, which contribute significantly to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s household nutrition and income, were also significantly affected. The adverse impact of the floods is expected to further deteriorate the already dire food security situation of the most affected households. At this point, it is critical that affected farmers receive appropriate and timely agricultural assistance. This should include wheat, barley and potato seeds for planting of the imminent winter/spring season crops; fertilizers; equipment for planting and harvesting; drying nets and post‑harvest equipment, as well as water and pest‑resistant storage containers for seed storage. Urgent restocking of livestock is also required to avoid a further fall in animal protein intake.