Seoul — North Korea’s food production in 2018 fell to its lowest level in more than a decade as natural disasters hit the country already under crippling international sanctions over its weapons programme, the UN said on Wednesday. North Korea has for decades been grappling with chronic food shortages in the face of a dysfunctional state ration system and international sanctions imposed over its nuclear and missile programmes. In 2018, Pyongyang called for an “all-out battle” against “an unprecedented heat wave” and its mission to the UN in New York in February warned of a food crisis. A prolonged heatwave, along with typhoon and floods has taken a toll on food harvest, which posted a 9% drop from 2017 to the lowest level in more than a decade, the UN said. Margareta Wahlstrom, president of Swedish Red Cross, said after her visit to the North late in 2018 that maize yields fell more than 30% from average levels in some areas and rice prices would likely rise in 2019, aggravating foo...

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