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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

GENEVA, 24 July (UN Information Service) -- According to a special report on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea published today by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP), there are encouraging signs that the relaxation of trade and economic sanctions imposed on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and prospects of greater economic interaction with other countries in the region will undoubtedly have a positive impact on longer term food security in the country. However, the current food supply situation still remains precarious, particularly amongst vulnerable groups. Approaching its sixth year of food shortages, therefore, the country still requires large-scale food assistance to ensure adequate nutritional standards, especially for children, pregnant women and the elderly.

Based on estimates of rice and maize production made by the last FAO/WFP mission in October 1999, and taking into account barley, wheat and potato production from this year's double crop, 1999/2000 cereal availability has been revised to 3.420 million tons, some 52,000 tons or 1.5 per cent below the mission estimate last year. Against this, utilization needs, including food, feed and other uses (seed and waste) are assessed at 4.751 million tons, leaving an import requirement of 1.33 million tons for the 1999/2000 marketing year. Of this requirement, it is estimated that commercial imports during the marketing year will be around 210,000 tons, while food aid imports, already delivered and in the pipeline, amount to a further 586,000 tons. Based on these revisions, therefore, the uncovered import requirement for the 1999/2000 marketing year to the end of October 2000, is estimated at 535,000 tons.

The report is available on the Internet at: . For further information please call Erwin Northoff (FAO), tel: 0039-06-5705 3105, e-mail: Erwin or Francis Mwanza (WFP), tel: 0039-06-6513-2623 e-mail: .

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