N. Korea food shortage ebbing, report says

Nov. 12, 2012 at 1:37 PM

PYONGYANG, North Korea, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- A U.N. report says food growth in North Korea has improved for the second year in a row, but that 2.8 million people remain at risk of malnutrition.

The United Nations noted a 30 percent drop in soybean production due to a long dry spell at the beginning of the growing season. That, combined with other vegetable crops, has made for a lack of available vegetables. Overall crop production is estimated at 5.8 million metric tons, a 10 percent improvement from 2011, the report said.

North Korea will need to import 507,000 metric tons of food to meet its basic nutritional needs.

Kisan Gunjal, co-leader of the Food and Agriculture Organization, one of the authors of the report, said household gardens could help make up the difference and would be an important step for the impoverished and isolated nation. He also suggested allowing farmers to directly sell their crops at market.

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