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N. Korean media warn prolonged drought affecting rice, other crop growth

North Korean news media warned Wednesday that a prolonged, severe drought could seriously damage its harvests of rice and other crops this year.

"Drought and high temperatures have been persisting in the west coast and middle inland areas," the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said in a report.

The phenomenon is affecting crops in North and South Hwanghae and South Pyongan provinces, as well as the city of Nampo and other areas, according to the report.

"In particular, rice paddies in Ongjin, Kangryong and Hwangju counties are cracking and 47 percent of the area of paddy fields in Kumchon County is dry," it said, referring to counties in the central and lower parts of the country where a large part of rice is harvested.  



Since May, North Korean media outlets have highlighted the country's worsening drought, calling on farmers to take agricultural self-help measures to cope with the drought.

Earlier this week, the country's Rodong Sinmun newspaper reported that not enough rain was expected till Wednesday, saying further drought effects would leave no crops for harvest.

"To cope with such situation, a campaign against drought damage is now going on in the country," the KCNA report said, referring to ongoing steps to raise the operation rate of irrigation equipment and mobilize water transport equipments.

According to North Korea's meteorology authorities, precipitation in the country in May, a critical season in rice farming, reached less than half of the annual average.

GEOGLAM, a Switzerland-based crop monitoring organization, and the Food and Agriculture Organization have warned that a severe drought would deal a blow to North Korea's crop harvest this year. (Yonhap)