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N. Korea's agricultural ministry elevated to state commission amid food shortages

SEOUL, Jan. 26 (Yonhap) — North Korea has decided to upgrade its agricultural ministry to a state commission, according to Pyongyang’s media Wednesday, as the country has tapped agricultural development as one of its top policy priorities for the new year amid chronic food shortages.

The Standing Committee of the Supreme People’s Assembly, the North’s rubber-stamp legislature, made the decision to better “lead the country’s agricultural production in a unified manner,” the North’s official Korean Central Broadcasting Station reported. “The Cabinet and relevant organs will take practical measures to implement the decree.”

The announcement came about a month after the North rolled out a series of measures to develop the country’s agricultural sector during a ruling party plenary last year.

At the high-profile party gathering, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ordered “important revolutionary measures” to address “rural questions,” suggesting they are among the most pressing tasks facing the country.

The North is estimated to be falling short by around 1 million tons of food every year, with the coronavirus-driven border controls believed to have taken a toll on its already substandard food situation.

In this file photo taken from an observatory in the South Korean border city of Paju on Oct. 19, 2021, North Korean farmers harvest rice at a field in Kaepung on the western front-line border with South Korea. (Yonhap)

scaaet@yna.co.kr
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