The Rural Development Administration of South Korea, via the Daily NK, reports that this year’s cereal crop in North Korea may be 2.5 million (metric?) tons short of the country’s needs, at just over 4 million tons.
Although these figures are obviously of questionable reliability, when compared to prior-year harvests, a 4M-ton cereal harvest would be about mid-range between the harvest figures at the height of the Great Famine and the years since then. In relative terms, however, food deficit of 2.5M tons would be higher than North Korea itself reported during the famine years of the mid-1990’s.
North Koreans have learned to put away anything they can for the winter, so if there will be famine, it’s most likely to happen in the spring. If the situation is desperate enough, people will eat their seed grain and slaughter draft animals, which will affect harvests for years to come.