SEOUL, Sept. 11 (UPI) -- A U.N. agency said North Korean authorities reduced daily food rations in July because food production has declined in the country.
The Food and Agriculture Organization told Voice of America North Korea has been distributing food rations of 250 grams per day since mid-July. That amount is less than half the FAO's recommended amount for rations, and represents a 21 percent decline from a three-year average of 317 grams daily per person.
State food rations in North Korea fluctuate from month to month, but the historical average for rations in North Korea has been 390 grams. The FAO said North Korea's goal is to provide 573 grams of food daily per person – slightly below the U.N. recommended amount of 600 grams.
The ongoing drought in North Korea has had a serious impact on food production, and yields from double cropping have decreased. Food produced from double or multiple cropping constitutes 8 percent of North Korea's grain production, but it is an important food source during an annual austerity period that takes place between May and September.
According to FAO, North Korean wheat and barley yields had dropped 32 percent between 2014 and 2015 to 36,083 tons, and potato output was down by 20 percent to 232,889 tons. Both crops are important food sources for North Koreans.
Yonhap reported the FAO said North Korea reached out to the agency in August for assistance with recovery after a devastating flood destroyed agriculture – and that the U.N. is considering allocating other funds toward the recovery of North Korean farms in the aftermath of the disaster.