North Korea holds rare meeting on farming amid food shortage

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North Korea meeting on food shortage; North Korean leader Kim Jong Un opened a major political conference on agriculture. State media said Monday, despite outside assessments that the country is facing severe food shortages.

South Korean experts estimate North Korea is short of 1 million tons of grain. 20 percent of its annual needs, as the outbreak has disrupted farming and imports from China.

Recent, unconfirmed reports claim that an unknown number of North Koreans have starved to death. But observers in North Korea see no signs of mass casualties or starvation.

Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un gives field guidance to Kwangchon Chicken Farm under construction in this undated photo released on July 19, 2020 by North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang. KCNA via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA.

At a summit of the ruling Workers’ Party that began on Sunday. Senior party officials reviewed the past year’s work towards national goals for “rural transformation in a new era. The official Korean Central News Agency reported.

The report states that the meeting of the party’s central committee will identify “urgent, important” tasks on agriculture and “urgent tasks at the current stage of the country’s economic development.”

KNCA did not say whether Kim spoke at the meeting or how long it would last. High-ranking officials such as Prime Minister Kim Tok Hun and Jo Yong Won. One of Kim’s closest aides in charge of organizing the high commission, also attended.

The meeting is the first time the party has convened a plenary session to exclusively discuss agricultural issues. Monday’s report did not detail the agenda. But the party’s politburo said earlier this month that “reform is necessary to maximize the radical transformation of agricultural development.”

For most experts, the food situation in North Korea Today is nowhere near. What it was in the 1990s, when thousands died of starvation. But some experts say food shortages could be the worst since Kim took power in 2011. After COVID-19 sanctions further rattled an economy plagued. By decades of poor governance and crippling US-led sanctions. imposed on Kim’s nuclear program.

in 2020 At the beginning of the year, North Korea Tried to protect its population from the coronavirus. By imposing strict border controls that stifled trade with China, its main ally and economic lifeline. Russia’s war against Ukraine could have exacerbated the situation. By raising global prices for food, energy and fertilizer, on which North Korea’s agriculture depends heavily.
North Korea opened rail freight links with China and Russia last year. More than 90% of North Korea’s official foreign trade passes through the border with China.

Last year, North Korea’s grain production was estimated at 4.5 million tons. According to South Korean government estimates. tons, i.e. 3.8% less than in 2020. According to previous data from South Korea. Between 2012 and 2021 North Korea will produce 4.4 to 4.8 million tons per year. tons of grain.

North Korea meeting on food shortage; According to senior economist Kwon Tae-jin, North Korea Needs about 5.5 million. at the private GS&J Institute in South Korea.
Kwon said the trade suspension due to the pandemic appears to be hampering informal purchases of rice from China. Efforts by North Korean authorities to tighten controls and restrict market activity have also worsened the situation, he said.

It is unclear whether North Korea will take any immediate steps to address its food crisis. Some experts say North Korea will use this week’s summit to bolster public support for Kim Jong Un in his confrontation with the United States and its allies over his nuclear ambitions.

Despite limited resources, Kim Jong Un has gone to great lengths to expand his nuclear weapons and missile programs to force Washington to embrace the idea of the North as a nuclear power and lift international sanctions. After a record year of weapons tests in 2022, North Korea this month began displays of intercontinental ballistic missiles and other weapons.

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