Winter is generally not the toughest time of year as far as the North Korean food supply goes. North Korea’s “lean season” is from March to August, when supplies are depleted and the next harvest is still growing.
If the main crops of rice, potatoes and corn are thin and the winter crop — mainly wheat — is poor, that could make the coming lean season even leaner in a country where an estimated 80 percent of people still do not have an adequately varied and nutritious diet. According to the U.N.’s World Food Programme, North Koreans consume 25 percent less protein and 30 percent less fat than the amount required for a healthy life.
Darlene Tymo, the WFP’s country director in North Korea, said that although official statistics from the North Korean government are not out yet, the main harvest is believed to have been worse than last year’s. Especially remote and impoverished areas — particularly the mountainous provinces of Chagang and Ryanggang along the border with China — therefore could be looking at a hard winter ahead. “All indications are that it will be down from last year and the question is what percentage down,” Tymo said in an interview at the WFP’s office in Pyongyang.
“The big problem that remains — and I think it’s particularly difficult in the winter — is the lack of diversity in the diet. Outside of the capital, it is a population that very seriously lacks in proteins and fats, and certainly in vitamins and minerals,” Tymo said.
This entry was posted in Humanitarian Aid and Relief by Grant Montgomery.