The United Nations says that a majority of North Korea's 24 million people will likely be without enough food next year unless there is outside help.

The Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Program said in a joint statement Tuesday that the North's food production this year showed only a marginal improvement over last year.

The statement says the country's expected food supply shortage for the next year will be 867,000 tons. That's similar to previous years. But it says the North only plans to buy 325,000 tons of food for the period.

The U.N. says North Koreans' expected cereal rations will be much below their needs.

The U.N. agencies recently visited North Korea to look at the food situation.