North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visiting Farm No. 1116 of KPA Unit 810 in September. KCNA/via Reuters

In the midst of a tangle of unpredictable factors affecting the Korean peninsula, North Korea is experiencing a drought that’s expected to take a heavy toll on food production, according to 38 North, a respected website dedicated to analysis of North Korea.

The site, hosted by the US-Korea Institute of the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, noted in an article that North Korea faced a “very severe drought in 2017 that has undoubtedly had a major impact on food crops and the ability of the state government to feed its people.”

Author Andy Dinville said that weather conditions and rainfall through July showed little relief for North Korean agricultural producers. “All signs suggest that the early and mid-season drought will take a heavy toll on food crop production,” Dinville wrote.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization has already issued a special report warning of extreme risk to 2017 food production in North Korea.

The main cereal production areas of North Korea are affected.

“All in all, the 2017 growing season has been very challenging for North Korean agricultural producers,” Dinville concluded. “With the impact observed throughout the growing season and the widespread nature of the impact, food supplies will very likely be substantially diminished. The impact of further sanctions and food security will likely bring further challenges to the situation in North Korea.”

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