North Korea's food procurement effort has been inadequate to cover the expected shortfall for this year, a media report based on data provided by an international agriculture agency said Friday.
The quarterly report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations showed Pyongyang has been able to secure 290,600 tons of various grains from abroad from November 2012 through June of this year, the Voice of America (VOA) said.
The Washington-based media outlet said the total is equal to just 57 percent of the 507,000 tons the North needs to secure by October to prevent a food shortage for its people.
The latest findings come a day after the World Food Program (WFP) claimed eight out of 10 North Koreans are suffering from food shortages this year, with nearly 20 percent of children younger than five severely malnourished.
The percentage of people suffering food shortages, however, fell from 87 percent tallied the year before, the WFP said.
Despite the risk of shortage, the North has been able to increase its daily food rations for its people in the first seven months of this year to 397 grams per person, up 14 grams from the year before.
North Korea watchers also said that with Pyongyang placing emphasis on strengthening its agricultural sector, there have been some improvements in food conditions in the country compared to the past. (Yonhap News)