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Published February 11, 2010, 09:26 AM

N. Korea’s grain output in 2009 down slightly

SEOUL — South Korea said Wednesday that North Korea is believed to have produced 4.11 million tons of grain in 2009, down about 5 percent from the previous year.

SEOUL — South Korea said Wednesday that North Korea is believed to have produced 4.11 million tons of grain in 2009, down about 5 percent from the previous year.

The North is believed to have produced 4.31 million tons in 2008, Unification Ministry spokeswoman Lee Jong Joo told a news briefing.

Meanwhlie, Yonhap News Agency cited a South Korean official in a report Wednesday as saying the North’s crop harvest falls about 1.3 million tons short of what North Korea needs this year to feed its 24 million people.

”The (South Korean) government has made an annual estimate of North Korea’s food pro-duction in cooperation with related agencies and experts,” Lee said.

Experts said South Korea’s suspension of fertilizer aid to the North amid strained inter-Korean ties may have aggravated the production and that weather conditions have proved unfavorable for the North, according to Yonhap.

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