More agricultural commodities donated for North Korea

from Government of the United States of America
Published on 18 Dec 2001
WASHINGTON, Dec. 18, 2001- The Agriculture Department today announced that the U.S. government will provide 105,000 metric tons of U.S. food commodities in response to a World Food Program request for continued donations for emergency feeding operations in North Korea. These commodities will be donated under USDA's Section 416(b) authority.

The donated commodities will include 49,910 metric tons of U.S. wheat, 20,090 tons of soybeans, 15,000 tons of vegetable oil, 15,000 tons of rice and 5,000 tons of nonfat dry milk The commodities will be purchased within the next two months and shipped soon thereafter to avoid a break in the food pipeline to North Korea in late winter. This donation, valued at an estimated $52.5 million including freight and other costs, will be administered by USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service.

The North Korean people have suffered from severe hunger and malnutrition over the last several years. According to the WFP, widespread starvat! ion has been averted only because of the unprecedented volume of humanitarian food assistance from the United States and other global donors. Although North Korea's food production increased this year, major shortages persist as another winter sets in.

The WFP's emergency feeding operations focus on young children, expectant mothers, the elderly and other vulnerable groups in North Korea. In the WFP's latest emergency appeal, the UN food aid agency has asked global donors for 611,000 metric tons of food for North Korea in 2002.

Since 1995, the United States has donated about 1.8 million metric tons of commodities, valued at $591 million, for food assistance in North Korea, most of it through the WFP. The United States is the largest contributor to the WFP, providing around half of total WFP commodity donations to needy countries around the world in recent years.