DPRK

GIEWS Country Brief: Democratic People's Republic of Korea 26-October-2020

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FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Excess precipitation and floods characterized 2020 main season

  2. Food insecurity prevails for large number of people

Excess precipitation and floods characterized 2020 main season

Harvesting of the 2020 main season crops, planted between April and June, is nearing completion. Main season crops include rice and maize, accounting for almost 90 percent of the total main season crop output, plus small quantities of soybeans, potatoes, millet and sorghum.

The rainy season normally starts in April and about 80 percent of the annual precipitation occurs between July and September. The spatial and temporal distribution of the 2020 seasonal rains was erratic over most cropping areas of the country. In April, rainfall amounts were below average and did not adequately replenish soil moisture deficits due to limited snow melting following poor snowfall between December 2019 and February 2020. This had a negative impact on land preparation and planting activities of the 2020 main season crops. Rains improved between May and July allowing the completion of plantings and had a positive impact on crop growth in most parts of the country. A succession of typhoons from early August to early September brought heavy rains, strong winds and triggered severe flooding that affected standing crops at maturity stage, just one month before the harvest. According to remote sensing data, surface soil moisture in August was close to the ten‑year maximum in the key cereal producing provinces of North and South Hwanghae and North and South Pyongan. Although no precise crop damage estimates are available, it is likely that waterlogging stress due to excess soil moisture at the final stages of crops’ development may have significantly reduced yields. These rains, however, may have benefited crops in the areas not affected by the floods and contributed to replenishing water levels in the main reservoirs, increasing the availability of irrigation water for the 2021 winter wheat and barley crops, currently being planted.

Food insecurity prevails for large number of people

A large number of people in the country suffers from low levels of food consumption and poor dietary diversity. The economic constraints, exacerbated by the global impact of the COVID‑19 pandemic, have increased the population’s vulnerability to food insecurity. The recent floods and typhoons have caused the loss of human lives, affected large number of people and damaged housing and infrastructure.

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