|Pyongyang citizens visit Mansu Hill to pay homage to the bronze statues of President Kim Il-sung and Chairman Kim Jong-il ahead of the 27th anniversary of the death of President Kim Il-sung, in Pyongyang, North Korea, July 7. AP-Yonhap|
North Korea has reported to the United Nations that its food production dropped to the lowest level in 10 years in 2018 due to natural disasters, lack of farming materials and low levels of mechanization.
According to its Voluntary National Review (VNR) report submitted to the U.N., the North also admitted that it failed to achieve its national target of producing 7 million tons of food.
VNR is a process through which to assess progress among member countries in their efforts to achieve the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set in 2015. It is the first time that North Korea has made public a VNR report.
"The production in 2018 was about 4.95 million tons, the lowest during the last 10 years. The main reasons of reduced production are the natural disasters and weak resilience, insufficient farming materials and low level of mechanization," the report said.
"Despite of several positive measures to increase the cereal production, the national MDG target of cereal production of 7 million tons was not achieved," it added.
MDGs refer to the Millennium Development Goals set by the U.N. in 2000, which include the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger.
North Korea is known for chronic food shortages, which appear to have been aggravated by last summer's back-to-back typhoons and flooding that wrought havoc on key farming areas.
In June, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un acknowledged that the country is facing a "tense" food shortage.
Experts say that North Korea needs to produce around 5.5 million tons of food every year to feed its population. A think tank in Seoul earlier said the North could be faced with a food shortage of around 1.3 million tons this year. (Yonhap)