North Korea: milk for the schoolchildren

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Première Urgence Internationale is working to support the production and distribution of milk in Hwanghae Province in southern North Korea. In this region, where daily food rations are insufficient to meet their basic energy requirements, the project aims to increase children’s protein intake by strengthening the area’s capacity to produce goats’ and soya milk.

In Hwanghae Province in southern North Korea, living conditions are difficult. Electricity and running water are not available to everyone. The area is characterised by a geography and climate that are unfavourable to agricultural development with low temperatures for much of the year, short growing seasons, mountainous countryside and a lack of arable land, added to a shortage of fertiliser, fuel and agricultural equipment. Many children suffer from an unbalanced diet, and in particular a lack of protein. With the aim of supporting and maintaining the population and improving children’s nutritional status, Première Urgence Internationale has been setting up food assistance projects for several years.

Première Urgence Internationale is concentrating its food aid work on developing goat rearing and soya milk production in southern Hwanghae Province. The aim is to ensure that children have a glass of soya milk or goats’ milk yoghurt every day in school. ‘Giving a 150ml glass of milk or yoghurt to the children when they are at school encourages school attendance,’ explains Delphine Lefèvre, agricultural and food technical advisor for 6 months in North Korea for Première Urgence Internationale.

Soya and goats’ milk

To help develop goat rearing, Première Urgence Internationale has brought veterinary assistance, as well as agricultural equipment, and contributes to technical training for goat farmers. The project leads to greater milk production and bigger farms.  ‘We are also making yoghurt distribution easier with the use of small vehicles,’ explains Delphine Lefèvre.

Première Urgence Internationale is also helping with soya production. Goats in fact do not produce milk for the whole year. ‘The idea is that during the winter months we complement goats’ milk and yoghurt production with soya milk production,’ explains Delphine Lefèvre. The NGO has built infrastructures and set up manufacturing units.  Equipment such as a pasteuriser, a soya bean grinder, and stainless steel vats have been supplied. Since the end of the completed project in November 2015, units have been running without our help and workers have been keeping up soya milk and yoghurt production to be provided to educational establishments in the province.

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