Tuesday, August 25, 2009


North Korea is one of the world’s leading producers of fresh fruit and vegetables.

According to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, North Korea is the tenth largest producer of fresh fruit, including apples, peaches, pears and nectarines.

The chronically malnourished country is also the world’s 12th largest producer of fresh vegetables.


Unable to experience this incredible bounty, starving North Koreans have increasingly turned to an artificial food composed of twigs, tree bark and leaves. The scavenged ingredients are ground into a paste and formed into dried noodles.

The noodles provide scant nutrition and can cause internal bleeding and dysentery.


Since the mid-‘90's, North Koreans have endured chronic food shortages which have killed an estimated 2 million.

The government in Pyongyang blames natural disasters, such as the floods of 1995, 1996 and 2000, for the food crises–omitting the key detail that the floods were induced by the clearance of massive areas of forest to create more land for growing fruit.


Officially, North Korea espouses a philosophy of self-reliance known as juche, even rejecting various shipments of food aid.

Privately, North Korean officials usher in hundreds of millions of dollars in international aid which is siphoned off by the military and high-ranking members of the Korean Workers’ Party.

Despite its vaunted improved seeds, fertilizers and irrigation methods, the country remains unable or disinclined to feed its citizens.

All of that glorious fruit is destined for export.

"Bodies of Pyongyang" by performance artist Yoonhye Park.

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