DPRK / FOOD SHORTAGES

03-May-2019 00:02:49
Ten million people in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) face imminent food shortages after worst harvest in ten years, according to a United Nations report which finds worryingly low food consumption, limited dietary diversity and families being forced to cut meals or eat less. WFP
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STORY: DPRK / FOOD SHORTAGES
TRT: 2:49
SOURCE: WFP
RESTRICTIONS: PLEASE CREDIT WFP ON SCREEN
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH /NATS

DATELINE: 2-8 APRIL ANAK COUNTY, PONGSAN COUNTY, SINCHON COUNTY, DPRK /FILE
SHOTLIST
4 APRIL 2019, ANAK COUNTY, SOUTH HWANGHAE PROVINCE, DPRK

1. Various shots, dry bed of an irrigation canal

2 APRIL 2019, PONGSAN COUNTY, NORTH HWANGHAE PROVINCE, DPRK

2. Various shots, dry barley fields
3. Wide shot, WFP / FAO assessment teams speaking with farmers

4 APRIL 2019, ANAK COUNTY, SOUTH HWANGHAE PROVINCE, DPRK

4. Wide shot, farmers preparing the land for rice planting
5. Med shot, farmers preparing the land for rice planting
6. Various shots, cooperative farmers watering maize beds

8 APRIL 2019, UNPA COUNTY, NORTH HWANGHAE PROVINCE, DPRK

7. Med shot, WFP / FAO assessment team talking to local farmer

8 APRIL 2019, PYONGYANG, DPRK

8. SOUNDBITE (English) Mario Zappacosta, Senior Economist, mission co-lead, FAO:
“It is estimated that about 10.1 million people, around 40% of the population are considered to be food-insecure and in need of urgent food assistance. The social groups that are more affected and in danger are children, young children, and women, pregnant women and lactating women.”

3 APRIL 2019, SINCHON COUNTY, SOUTH HWANGHAE PROVINCE, DPRK

9. Med shot assessment teams at the house of cooperative farmer Ms. Ri
10. Close up, baby chicken in a box
11. Various shots, Ri feeding chicks
12. Wide shot, Ri in a kitchen garden
13. Wide shot, exterior, nursery building in Sinchon
14. Various shots, small children sleeping on the floor

8 APRIL 2019, PYONGYANG, DPRK

15. SOUNDBITE (English) Nicolas Bidault, Regional Senior VAM Officer, mission co-lead, WFP:
“The assessment teams are back from the field. they have spoken to households, farmers, local officials, they have visited nurseries. What is clear to us is that we are very concerned with the situation of food security and nutrition in DPRK. What is clear is that the succession of bad drought, heatwave and floods this year is badly impacting the crop production.”

10 MAY 2018, PYONGYANG, DPRK

16. Various shots, WFP supported factory producing specialized food
STORYLINE
A United Nations food security assessment in the DPRK has found that following the worst harvest in 10 years, due to dry spells, heatwaves and flooding, about 10.1 million people suffer from severe food shortages, meaning they do not have enough food until the next harvest.

The aggregate 2018/19 food crop production is estimated at 4.9 million metric tons, which is the lowest since the 2008/09 season. In addition to unfavorable climatic conditions, limited supplies of agricultural inputs, such as fuel, fertilizer and spare parts have had significant adverse impact.

The assessment, which is based on UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Food Programme (WFP) missions to the country last month and in November 2018, concluded that the reduced harvest, coupled with increased post-harvest losses, has led to an uncovered food deficit of 1.36 million metric tons after considering the commercial import capacity of the country.

The report found worryingly low food consumption levels, limited dietary diversity and families being forced to cut meals or eat less.

In particular, it expresses serious concern about lack of dietary diversity which is vital to good nutrition. The situation is particularly worrisome for young children and pregnant and breastfeeding women, who are the most vulnerable to malnutrition.

The assessment found that the government’s Public Distribution System, on which a large portion of the population relies, has been forced to cut rations to the lowest ever level for this time of the year. There are concerns that in the absence of substantial external assistance, rations may be further cut during the critical months of June-October, at the peak of the lean season.

“It is estimated that about 10.1 million people, around 40% of the population are considered to be food-insecure and in need of urgent food assistance,” said Mario Zappacosta, FAO’s Senior Economist and co-lead of the mission. “Our assessment shows that reduced rains and lack of snow cover during winter, which left crops exposed to freezing temperatures, cut production by about 20 percent,” he added.

The assessment’s recommendations include scaling up food assistance to meet immediate needs, and prioritising areas where food needs are greatest and where climate impacts are the most severe. It also recommends an expansion of nutrition programmes and disaster risk reduction measures to enable at-risk communities to better cope with future shocks.

The assessment also recommends a series of measures to bolster agricultural production including importing fertilizers and other agricultural chemicals, water pumps, greenhouses, and vegetable seed, as well as upgrading grain-drying equipment, threshing machines and storage facilities in order to reduce post-harvest losses.

“What is clear to us is that we are very concerned with the situation of food security and nutrition in DPRK,“ said Nicolas Bidault, co-lead of the mission and WFP Senior Regional Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping (VAM) Adviser. “What is clear is that the succession of bad drought, heatwave and floods this year is badly impacting the crop production” he added.

WFP’s work in DPRK focuses on providing nutrition assistance to some 770,000 malnourished women and children across nine provinces. They are given nutritious cereals and biscuits fortified with micronutrients, fats and proteins crucial for healthy growth, and the assistance is channelled through nurseries, hospitals and child institutions.

FAO’s work in DPRK provides support to more than 500,000 cooperative farmers, through the supply of vital production inputs for agriculture production. More importantly, it introduces techniques and technologies such as conservation agriculture, sustainable Rice Intensification and climate-resilient agriculture practices such agro-forestry, agroecology and crop-livestock integration to improve the livelihood of farmers and build their resilience against climate change.

The FAO/WFP Rapid Food Security Assessment Mission visited counties across the country in April 2019 to assess the food security situation there, in addition to other counties visited by WFP in November 2018. Teams were granted access to a variety of locations including cooperative farms, rural and urban households, nurseries, public distribution centres, and were able to speak to households, farmers, government officials, and humanitarian partners.
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