* Food security remains unsatisfactory in N. Korea
* 84 pct households have borderline/poor food consumption
ROME Nov 28 North Korean food production has
increased for a third straight year, but a United Nations report
warned on Thursday that cases of stunting in children due to
malnutrition remained high.
A mission by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization
(FAO) and World Food Programme (WFP) visited North Korea's nine
agricultural provinces in late September and early October
around the main annual cereal harvest.
Total food production is estimated at about 5.03 million
tonnes (including milled rice) in 2013, which is about a 5
percent increase over the previous year.
Even with the improved harvest, the food security situation
remains unsatisfactory with 84 percent of households having
borderline or poor food consumption.
"Despite continued improvement in agricultural production,
the food system in the DPRK (North Korea) remains highly
vulnerable to shocks and serious shortages exist, particularly
in the production of protein-rich foods," said Kisan Gunjal, FAO
economist and co-leader of the mission.
"In the interest of increased protein consumption and to
reverse the downward trend of soybean production, the price paid
to farmers for soybean should be increased."
Since 1998, WFP in partnership with the government has
produced blended fortified foods and nutritious biscuits for
children and pregnant or nursing women.
WFP has recommended a shift to a new product - rice soya
milk blend - for children in nurseries to reduce stunted growth
Children's brains and bodies become stunted when they lack
the right kind of food or nutrients in their first 1,000 days of
life, the U.N. says.
(Reporting by David Brough; editing by Keiron Henderson)