October 01, 2018 11:22
North Korea has banned rice transports from one part of the country to another as a severe shortage looms following a poor harvest due to the record heatwave this summer.
Radio Free Asia last Thursday reported that North Korea issued an official notice of the ban in early September and stepped up checkpoints across the country.
The notice warned that people who violate the ban and those caught stealing rice face execution. The measures suggest that the regime is now desperate to hoard supplies after spending lavishly to celebrate its 70th founding anniversary last month.
The record heat this summer severely diminished crop yields in North Korea, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization said in a report early last month, and the price of rice rose from 4,500 North Korean won per kilogram in late August to 5,400 won in late September, up around 17 percent.
The shortage is particularly severe for ordinary people. The head of a rice farm cooperative in South Hwanghae Province reportedly killed himself in protest against an order to hand over 40 percent of the farm's yield to the country's bloated military.
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