The price of food is spiking in North Korea as it faces shortages caused by typhoons and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite North Korea being a relatively secretive nation, the country still depends on importing goods to feed its citizens. The country has now begun to publicly address a food crisis that has seen it struggle to produce enough goods of its own. As a result, prices for common goods have skyrocketed.
Kim Jong-un admitted at a party meeting this week that ‘the people’s food situation is now getting tense as the agricultural sector failed to fulfil its grain production plan due to the damage by typhoon last year.’
This admission comes after food experts have warned of a worsening situation over the last month, Reuters reports.
In response to the situation, the Seoul-based outlet NK News noted that a major agenda item would be ‘the issue of directing all efforts to farming this year.’ Additionally, the government will hold meetings about ‘coping with the protracted nature of the emergency anti-epidemic situation.’
North Korea’s capital, Pyongyang, has seen goods reach all-time highs as 1kg of bananas is now worth $45 (USD). This means the average banana would cost someone in the city around $6.40 (USD).
There have already been efforts to combat the worsening situation. Last month, farmers were asked to contribute two litres of their own urine each day in an effort to help create fertilizers, Radio Free Asia reports.
The country typically needs 5.75 million tons of food to feed its population. However, this year The Korea Development Institute told The Korea Herald that it expected North Korea to be short by 1.35 million tons.
Despite an immediate challenge for the people of North Korea, Kim did have some good news.
The leader of North Korea reportedly said:
The country’s economy has shown improvement as a whole, as evidenced by the implementation of the first half-yearly plan for total industrial output at 144 percent, 25 percent increase as against the same period last year, and huge growth made in terms of the actual amount of goods.
Although the leader stressed some economic positives, John Delury, a North Korea watcher based at Yonsei University in Seoul, said ‘the stress on farming is notable, since Kim would prefer to talk about science, technology and industrial policy.’
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