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Analysis: In North Korea a packet of coffee costs $100, and that's a problem for Kim Jong Un

The ruler of the secretive, hereditary communist dictatorship opened an important political meeting on Tuesday acknowledging the grim situation his country now faces. North Korea’s food supply is strained and “getting tense,” Kim said, according to the country’s state-run newswire, KCNA.
The agriculture sector is still recovering from storm damage incurred last year. Replacing domestic food supplies with imports will likely be difficult because borders remain mostly closed due to Covid-19 restrictions.
In the capital Pyongyang, prices of some staple goods are reportedly skyrocketing. Experts say rice and fuel prices are relatively stable still but imported staples such as sugar, soy bean oil and flour prices have gone up.
The costs associated with some locally produced staples have also soared in recent months. Potato prices have tripled at the well-known Tongil market, where both locals and foreigners can shop, Pyongyang residents said.
Residents also revealed that non staple items such as a small packet of black tea can sell for around $70, while a packet of coffee can fetch more than $100.
Kim did not disclose the scale of the shortages, but the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) recently estimated North Korea is short of approximately 860,000 tons of food, or equivalent to just over two months of nationwide supplies.
The situation was serious enough in April for Kim to urge North Koreans to undertake another “arduous march,” the term used to refer to the devastating famine in North Korea in the 1990s that killed hundreds of thousands of people.
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