A prominent South Korean non-governmental organization (NGO) plans to spend KRW510 million (USD$458,093) delivering an undisclosed amount of Ukrainian-produced flour to DPRK in the next six months, a document seen by NK News revealed this week.
The Seoul-based organization— which has worked sending humanitarian aid to North Korea since the early 2000s — detailed a plan to send flour to the DPRK’s Nampo port in a proposal issued to potential subcontractors.
When contacted by NK News, the group officially asked that its name not be published, out of concern that the delivery, intended for children, may be impeded if the news was leaked.
An official at the NGO said that while nothing has been confirmed officially, preparations are underway for the aid to be sent, while expressing concerns that external factors may hamper the project’s implementation.
The NGO hopes to ensure the stability, speed, and transparency of the project by outsourcing some of the work, they added, with a private company to be commissioned to work with a foreign manufacturer to “provide fine-quality and fresh flour for North Korean children.”
The group plans to purchase the flour from Ukraine, prohibiting the use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) and limiting the ash, gluten, and moisture content to 0.75, 25, and 15 percent, respectively.
In the document, the NGO said the subcontractor would be allowed to deliver the flour, but only if delivery to Nampo port is permitted by its origin country.
Flour manufactured in the U.S., China, and South Korea is not suitable, it added.
Though the NGO was not able to comment on the issue, Pyongyang has long been a buyer of Ukrainian flour.
2016 saw Ukraine’s State Food and Grain Corporation say China remained its primary of flour, and that Chinese companies were then supplying it to Pyongyang.
And while the group could not confirm the exact date of the shipment, it said the project would go ahead right after selecting the outsourcing partner, and that the flour would be delivered within 60 days of signing the contract.
The group set the deadline for the project to April 30, however, adding bidders should complete their applications by February 15.
The aid organization did not confirm the amount of flour it intends to send, saying instead it would work within a budget of KRW 510 million (USD$ 458,179).
The payment will be transferred via a domestic bank account, after which the subcontractor will set a unit cost per tonne and pack the flour in 50 kg bags using high-quality polypropylene which will prevent decomposition and contamination during delivery.
The NGO has in the past implemented several projects aimed at providing bread to North Korean children, producing the food at a factory in Pyongyang between 2003 and 2010.
The organization’s official website also says it has since 2008 been supplying food containing essential nutrients to children and pregnant women in Nampo city and Taean county in South Pyongan Province.
A total of six South Korean NGOs previously provided supplies worth around KRW4.7 billion (USD$4.17 million) to the North in a total of 14 separate cases between January and November last year, according to a database provided by the ROK Ministry of Unification (MOU).
No humanitarian assistance to the North has been delivered at the government level since 2017, however, with a plan to provide over USD$8 million in humanitarian aid to DPRK via international organizations on hold since September that year.
South Korean plans to provide doses of Tamiflu to the North have been also postponed since early January.
Monday saw the MOU reiterate its stance that the delay is due to “issues of technology and practical preparation,” promising to “complete relevant preparations within the earliest possible time.”
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured Image: World Food Program (WFP)
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