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N. Korea faces food shortage of 1.35m tons: think tank

This undated file photo, released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on Sept. 9, 2019, shows farmers picking up fallen rice at a paddy after the powerful Typhoon Lingling passed through the Korean Peninsula on Sept. 7. (KCNA-Yonhap)
This undated file photo, released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on Sept. 9, 2019, shows farmers picking up fallen rice at a paddy after the powerful Typhoon Lingling passed through the Korean Peninsula on Sept. 7. (KCNA-Yonhap)
North Korea is expected to face a food shortage of about 1.35 million tons this year affected by last summer's typhoons, flooding and a lack of farming materials amid the global pandemic, a state-run think tank said Thursday.

According to a report by the Korea Development Institute, North Korea is presumed to have produced about 4.4 million tons of grains last year, down around 240,000 tons from a year earlier.

Given that the North is thought to be in need of at least 5.75 million tons of food annually to feed its population, last year's estimated production marked a shortage of 1.35 million tons.

The report said that the estimated shortage is beyond the North's capability to fill, adding that it is necessary for Pyongyang to resume food trade with or ask for food assistance from China to make up for the shortfalls.

North Korea is known for chronic food shortages and the paucity appears to have been aggravated by typhoons and resulting flooding last summer that wrought havoc on the country's key farming areas.

Also cited as a key reason for the worsening food shortages is a lack of farming materials apparently caused by the North's tight border controls in the face of the global coronavirus pandemic. (Yonhap)

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