Private university asks Texas A&M for help to grow food

The leaders of the only private university in North Korea asked Texas A&M University, known for its agricultural economics and public health programmes, for help in teaching subjects such as how to grow food in a land of chronic shortages, writes Jon Herskovitz for Reuters.

The Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, or PUST, was founded by evangelical Christians and opened in 2010, with students generally the children of the country's elite. A PUST delegation visiting the university said the help is not about politics but about using academics for humanitarian ideals.

North Korea’s centrally planned rationing system never recovered from a famine in the 1990s. From April to June last year the state handed out just 360 grams (12.7 oz) of rations per person per day, the lowest amount for five years, a World Food Programme report said. The volunteer faculty of PUST, many of whom are evangelical Christians, has a curriculum that includes subjects once considered taboo in North Korea, such as capitalism.
Full report on the Reuters site