Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

Man on a tractor DPRK

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is an isolated country with a population of close to 25 million. With problems such as having little arable land, only six months of frost-free days, mono-cropping farming practices, insufficient farm input, and over cultivation and heavy dependence on chemical fertilizers which has led to soil infertility, the country does not produce sufficient food to feed its population. In addition, DPRK suffers from frequent climate hazards such as chronic floods and catastrophic droughts, and has experienced widespread food shortages since the mid-1990s. In 2015, the country claimed that it experienced the worst drought in a century.

Today, they remain in great need in terms of food and agriculture, health and nutrition, and water and sanitation. Almost one third of the population relies on food aid from abroad, and 70 per cent of the total population suffers from food insecurity. The chronic malnutrition rate among children under the age of five is roughly 28 per cent.

Oxfam in DPRK

In response to these needs, Oxfam has provided relief in the country since 1997. Our work focuses on both humanitarian (Disaster Risk Reduction) and development programs (building resilience).

We provide emergency food assistance such as cooking oil and maize grains to vulnerable groups. We also support agricultural rehabilitation in cooperative farms in Pyongyang, South and North Pyongan, and Kangwon provinces to improve sustainable food production. Furthermore, we support training opportunities for government officials from the State Committee of Emergency Disaster Management and national organizations.

Our other projects include:

  • Providing sustainable access to drinkable water and sanitation facilities in Sohung town located in the presently drought-hit North Hwanghae province.
  • Supporting four old people’s homes in remote provinces to improve their livelihoods by providing oil presses to produce cooking oil and renewable energy generating devices.
  • Supporting research in and teaching of practical application of integrated pest management and sustainable agriculture.
  • Disaster Risk Management and Reduction Training for Korean government officials.
  • Exchange visits and learning between farmers in DPRK and that in China on agricultural production, disaster risk reduction and income generation (our partners, pictured, in DPRK met Chinese partners in mushroom farms in northwest China).
  • DPRK Flood Response in South Hwanghae Province.