North Korean residents say a small pack of black tea or a pack of coffee can cost 60 and 80 euros, respectively.
This week, North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un acknowledged that the country is facing what he called a “food stress situation”.
“The food situation is now tense, as the agricultural sector has failed to meet the grain production target due to damage caused by last year’s typhoons,” said the North Korean leader, quoted by official media.
Replacing domestic supplies with imported products will also be difficult, as borders remain virtually closed because of the covid-19 pandemic.
According to the television network CNN, in the capital, Pyongyang, prices for some staples are rising. soaring. Experts say rice and fuel prices are still relatively stable, but imported products such as sugar, soy oil and flour have already risen.
The costs of some locally produced staple foods have also increased in recent months. Potato prices have tripled in the well-known Tongil market, some residents said, even revealing that non-essential items, such as a small pack of black tea or a packet of coffee, can reach 60 and 80 euros, respectively.
Kim Jong-un did not specify the scale of this food shortage, but the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) recently estimated that the country lacks about 860,000 tonnes of food, equivalent to just over two months of national supply.
According to CNN, the situation is serious enough that, in April, the North Korean leader called on the population to start another “hard march”, the term used to refer to the devastating famine in the country in the 1990s, which killed hundreds of thousands of people.
Last week, it will be recalled, Kim Jong-un’s apparent weight loss also prompted some political analysts to come up with some theories and possible geopolitical consequences.