• Below-average rains, coupled with high temperatures from mid-July until mid-August, a critical period for crops, affected 8 percent of the average area cultivated in the main season.
The main agricultural season starts in April, with the arrival of the spring rains, and the harvest normally takes place between September and October (see Figure 1).
Overall, cumulative rainfall during the 2018 cropping season has been above average; nonetheless, the temporal distribution of precipitation has been erratic, with negative consequences for crops. Rainfall from April to early July was generally average to above average over the main producing areas of the country, benefitting planting activities and early development of the 2018 main season crops. However, below‑average rains from mid-July until mid-August, normally the wettest months, coupled with high temperatures, resulted in moisture stress during critical crop development stages in localized areas of the main crop producing provinces, including South and North Hwanghae, and South and North Hamgyong (see Figure 2).
Provisional estimates provided by the National Coordinating Committee (NCC) indicate that, as of early August, 98 892 hectares of cropland had been affected by the dry weather conditions (see Figure 3). This covers 24 664 hectares of paddy and 74 228 hectares of other food crops, including maize and potatoes. The estimated total area affected represents 8 percent of the average area cultivated during the main season. Any drop in production could further aggravate food insecurity.