As North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un boasts of his military prowess and flaunts his high tech weapons to the world, his malnourished soldiers are said to be stealing corn from fields to stave off hunger pangs.
Officers are ordering their troops to supplement their meagre food rations by plundering local fields, in order to keep up their strength for battle, according to a report in the Daily NK.
"The military officers are instructing their soldiers, exhausted after training, to eat corn in the fields because war is imminent," a source in North Hamgyong Province told the news website.
Inside North Korea
"They are even threatening their soldiers, saying: if you become malnourished despite permission to eat the corn, you will face difficulties."
Another source in Ryanggang Province claimed that soldiers carrying big sacks of unripened corn had frequently been spotted trying to sell their wares at markets.
The desperate conditions of his army paints a stark contrast with Mr Kim's brash threats since he fired a ballistic missile over Japan on Tuesday.
On Wednesday he hailed the test as a "good experience in…rocket operation for an actual war" and as a "meaningful prelude to containing" Guam, the US Pacific territory he threatened with missile strikes earlier this month.
North Korean citizens, some of whom now have to guard their fields from marauding troops, are reported to be unimpressed by his bravado.
"An increasing number of residents are pointing out that, for them, provoking the US is a losing battle," the Daily NK reported.