Why is North Korea exporting food to China?

In 2011, the United Nations found that about two-thirds of the North Korean population relied on government food rations distributed twice a month. In the following year, the state-run Korean Central News Agency reported that North Korean premier Choe Yong Rim had visited farms to highlight “the importance of settling the food shortage in building a thriving nation”.

Nearly a third of North Korean children under the age of five exhibit signs of stunted growth due to malnutrition, the UN said in June 2012.

Due to the lack of uncontested data, it is hard to know the country’s current agricultural output. A UN mission looking into the country’s food security status last year found that overall crop production over 2013/2014 was likely to grow by around 5%.