U.S. Wheat rethinks food aid package to North Korea

by Emily Wilson
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U.S. WHEAT ASSOCIATES, an export market development group, is urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to consider shipping wheat donated to North Korea first to South Korea for milling and bagging. The flour would then be shipped to North Korea, and the South Korean flour millers could keep the bran as payment for their milling services.

Humanitarian workers have reported that because North Korea lacks milling capacity, some previous donations of corn have been simply soaked and eaten whole. A U.S. Wheat spokesman said that North Korea appears to have only one flour mill and that having South Korea as a "way station" on the route to North Korea makes sense.

As of fiscal year 1999, U.S. food aid donations to North Korea consisted largely of corn (maize), cornmeal, corn-soy blends, rice and wheat and wheat flour. Some 83,000 tonnes of U.S. wheat is to be donated to North Korea in 2000.