North Korea’s Agricultural Challenges: Decline in Rice Paddy Area

SEOUL — The total area of rice paddies in North Korea saw a decrease of 1.1 percent in 2023, marking a continued challenge in the country's agricultural sector amidst ongoing concerns over food scarcity.

According to Yonhap News Agency, the decline brought the total area down to 533,591 hectares from the 539,679 hectares recorded in 2022. This decrease is based on estimates from satellite imagery captured between April and September of 2023.

The comparative size of North Korea's rice paddies stands at about 75 percent of the 707,872 hectares dedicated to rice cultivation in South Korea, highlighting a significant disparity in agricultural capacity between the two Koreas. South Hwanghae Province was identified as the largest contributor to North Korea's rice production, accounting for 26.3 percent of the total area, followed by North and South Pyongan provinces, which contributed 19.1 percent and 14.1 percent, respectively.

This decrease in rice paddy area underscores the persistent food security issues facing North Korea, raising concerns about the country's ability to sustain its population amidst a backdrop of economic sanctions and limited access to international aid.

scroll to top