UN: Chronic malnutrition persists in DPRK despite improved harvests.

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A woman health worker examines the chest of a malnourished boy at a hospital in the northern city of Huichon. UNICEF

Production of staple foods in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea(DPRK) has increased for the third year running, but many households still remain food insecure, according an assessment done by two United Nations agencies.

The joint Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Food Programme(WFP) indicates that total food production is estimated at about 5.03 million metric tons in 2013, a 5 percent increase over the previous year.

However despite this increase, the agencies say up to 84 per cent of households in DPRK are food insecure.

The report notes that although rates of child malnutrition have steadily declined over the past 10 years, many children in DPRK have stunted growth during their first three years, due to lack of appropriate nutrients in their diets.

To improve food security and nutrition, FAO and WFP recommend national and international support for sustainable farming practices, better price and market incentives for farmers and improvements in farm mechanization.

They further call for more efforts towards improving dietary diversity and feeding practices for young children and women through strategies such as behavioral change, market reform and encouraging livestock and fish production.

Patrick Maigua, United Nations Radio, Geneva.

Duration 1:26″

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