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Spring crop planting began on time with adequate precipitation throughout Tajikistan

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Tajikistan
  • April 2014
Spring crop planting began on time with adequate precipitation throughout Tajikistan

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected outlook through September 2014
  • Key Messages
    • Spring crop cultivation, including cotton, progresses as normal in Tajikistan given the good precipitation in March and early April 2014, reducing prior earlier season deficits.
    • Wheat flour prices are stable in Tajikistan due to the above-average harvest last year and the continuous supply from Kazakhstan. Wheat flour prices are currently 17 percent below last year; however, potato prices have increased considerably and are hindering access for those reliant on market purchase.
    • Poor households are able to maintain Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity outcomes throughout the scenario period due to current above-average stocks.

    No anomalies that would have a significant impact on food security are observed or projected for April to September 2014.

    Projected outlook through September 2014

    In April, the majority of households throughout the country have sufficient access to staple food, particularly wheat and wheat flour, mainly from above-average harvests last year that resulted in ample stocks for the current year and continuous wheat importation from Kazakhstan. However, households that depleted their local stocks are relying more on market purchase and benefiting from stable, favorable wheat flour prices in the country. During the winter, dietary diversity is at its lowest and most households, rural households particularly, consume their own reserves and then rely on markets until the winter season ends and food diversity returns.

    Labor opportunities will resume in April as spring begins, and labor migrants can expand their labor options by leaving Tajikistan for work, particularly Russia. Recently, the Russian Parliament ratified a protocol where it gives more protection and labor rights to Tajik nationals in Russia and vice versa. Under this protocol, Tajik nationals are now eligible to obtain three-year work permits in Russia, instead of the previous one-year work permits, which could bring more income stability to those Tajik households whose family members migrate to Russia for labor opportunities.

    Wheat prices in Kazakhstan, the main source market for Tajikistan, were stable from December 2013 to March 2014 due to last year’s above-average harvest, and were 33 percent lower than a year earlier. In Tajikistan, wheat flour prices steadily declined since December 2013, but then stabilized in March 2014. Two consecutive good wheat harvests in Tajikistan (2012 and 2013) and a good harvest in Kazakhstan accompanied by stable wheat export prices within the region, has maintained stable wheat prices in Tajikistan. The price of potatoes, another staple food, have been increasing since the second half of the last year (Figure 1), while in March 2014, they were at a record high (FAO Global Food Price Monitor, April 2014). This could reduce the amount of potatoes purchased by households solely reliant on market purchase, yet this would not have a significant influence on market conditions for this crop.

    With the arrival of the spring season in April 2014, spring crops – mainly grains, cash crops, potatoes, vegetables, melons, and fodder crops – were planted, including expanded areas planted this year for seed fruits, stone fruits, and nuts of orchards and vineyards (Food Security and Agricultural Highlights for Tajikistan), all of which serve as varied sources of incomes for rural households. So far during this spring’s land preparation and planting period, there has been less area planted compared to last year, possibly as a result of the late start of season as land was not ready for cultivation earlier. According to the Ministry of Agriculture of Tajikistan, southern districts have already launched cotton-sowing campaigns and planted cotton on 6,000 hectares in March 2014. Tajikistan has allocated 199,451 hectares to cotton cultivation this year, four percent more than last year. Cotton production is in general profitable and it is expected to bring more foreign reserves to the country. However, cash payments to farmers from cotton production are usually allotted towards the end of the harvest rather than during the harvest, whereas planting other cash crops have faster compensation mechanisms for farmers. Nevertheless, spring cultivation is underway and on track with seasonal norms; no water shortages or other weather-related hazards are expected. Therefore, production is expected to be average.

    Based on USGS models, the current wet season performance is well below last year and the long-term average. During March, moderate to heavy precipitation (10 to 40 mm) was observed across Tajikistan, particularly in the western parts, resulting in increase moisture that further helped reduce long-term average deficits. Snow water volume also increased in those areas that had previously seen abnormal dryness. Similarly, the Hydrometeorology Center for Tajikistan reported moderate to intense precipitation during March 2014 that encouraged spring crop planting and development of winter crops. Field monitoring shows normal precipitation to date. If the season continues within a normal precipitation range through the end of the 2013/2014 wet season, then harvest prospects will be average.

    Given the positive impact of current precipitation on crops, normal purchasing power for households from stable wheat flour prices (local and Kazakhstan harvests), and normal labor opportunities during spring and summer, most households will satisfy their basic food and non-food needs without engaging in atypical coping strategies, including any reliance on humanitarian assistance. Therefore, households are classified with Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food security outcomes throughout the scenario period.


    Figure 1


    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 1. Prices of potato and wheat flour, Feb 2012 to Feb 2014 in Tajikistan

    Figure 2

    Figure 1. Prices of potato and wheat flour, Feb 2012 to Feb 2014 in Tajikistan

    Source: Agency on Statistics under the President of the Republic of Tajikistan

    Figure 4


    In remote monitoring, a coordinator typically works from a nearby regional office. Relying on partners for data, the coordinator uses scenario development to conduct analysis and produce monthly reports. As less data may be available, remote monitoring reports may have less detail than those from countries with FEWS NET offices. Learn more about our work here.

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