According to a Seoul-based Internet news outlet, rice prices in North Korea have stabilized owing apparently to a large-scale rice aid by China and a better harvest. Compared to the last year, rice prices were around 20% less this year. Experts opined that the price stabilization was made possible due to China’s provision of rice aid to the North’s flood-stricken areas on a large scale and an improved rice harvest last year. Last summer, six areas in North Hamkyong Province in the North were devastated by heavy rains accompanied by Typhoon Lionrock, with the United Nations having estimated that 138 North Koreans were killed and 400 others are missing due to the floods, with about 20,000 houses destroyed.
In particular, the rice price in Hoeryong, North Hamkyong Province, which suffered serious typhoon damages, currently hovers around 3,600 won per kilogram, compared with 5,000 won in January last year. The North Korea has received a grand rice aid from China since the typhoon hit the nation in September, said a source from the North’s North Hamkyong Province. Reports have also circulated that the rice farming was good in Hwanghae and South Phyongan provinces. “Rice prices are generally on the decline at markets in Pyongyang, and 70 percent of rice sold there is imports from foreign countries, including China,” said another source in South Phyongan Province.