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The wheat harvest continues with higher yields than last year

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Tajikistan
  • August 2013
The wheat harvest continues with higher yields than last year

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through December 2013
  • Key Messages
    • Prices of wheat and wheat flour continued to fall slightly in July as the wheat harvest progressed in Tajikistan and prospects for northern Kazakhstan’s wheat harvest in August/September continued to be fairly good. By August 5, the wheat harvest in Tajikistan was 28 percent larger than last year at the same time.

    • In addition to the wheat harvest, the overall harvest was around three quarters complete by early August, and thus far, the total volume of harvested crops was over a third more than last year. Higher than usual production levels of wheat and other crops should provide both income and a source of food for many rural households.

    •  Locusts in western parts of Khatlon, the Direct-Rule Districts (DRD), and Sugd have damaged an above average amount of arable land. Control efforts are largely complete, and households should have time to recover from associated crop losses and damage before the lean season starts in January.




    Western Khatlon, Direct-Rule Districts (DRD), and Sugd

    • According to the Ministry of Agriculture, over 110,000 hectares (ha) of arable land have been affected by locusts this year, primarily in western Khatlon, but with some land affected in both western Sugd and western DRD, too. Locusts arrived approximately 10 days earlier than usual, most likely migrating from Uzbekistan and northern Afghanistan. Around 25 to 30 percent more land has been affected than is typical, and this is attributed to weaker-than-normal control efforts in neighboring countries. The affected areas are concentrated near the border with Uzbekistan.
    • Control efforts have been underway, earlier than is typical. The Government of Tajikistan has funding devoted to the effort and has deployed 45 trucks and over 1,000 laborers on control efforts already. Damage to winter and spring crops is likely to be more extensive than is typical due to the earlier migration and higher number and concentration of locusts, but the control efforts are likely to limit further spread of the locusts from the border areas. For areas where control has been reached, there may still be some time for replanting short-cycle spring crops, if there is adequate soil moisture.

    Projected Outlook through December 2013

    By August, rural households, especially at lower elevations and in southern Tajikistan, start to shift from consuming food primarily purchased on markets and often imported to food produced by the household or produced domestically within Tajikistan. At the same time, diets become more diverse in both rural and urban areas, as households gain more access to locally produced vegetables, fruit, and milk products in addition to the staples of wheat flour, vegetable oil, potatoes, and rice. Prices also are declining slightly along the seasonal pattern. According to the World Food Program’s (WFP’s) August 2013 Market Price Report, the cost of the minimum food basket in Dushanbe fell slightly again between June and July.

    Through July 2013, the Migration Service of Tajikistan had recorded over 655,000 departing migrants, which is 16 percent more than last year. Continued high labor migration levels will likely lead to higher labor migration earnings and remittances being sent back to Tajikistan between now and November. However, in a pattern similar to 2012 and 2009, peak outmigration may have occurred in May with there being month-on-month declines in departures since then. Another key source of income, unskilled casual labor, appears to be having a slight, seasonal increase. The rates recorded by WFP in Dushanbe, Khujand, and Kurgan-Tyube increased slightly from June to July.

    While total cumulative rainfall from the beginning of the wet season in October through June was somewhat below average, but rain and snowfall fell regularly in Tajikistan from February to the middle of May, and the volume of spring rain was steady in March and April and very well distributed over time. Thunderstorms and locusts have also caused an above average level of crop damage this year. However, grain crop performance has so far been fairly high. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, as of August 5, over 80 percent of the planted area for wheat had been harvested already with a volulme of over 519,000 metric tons (MT) of wheat. This is 28 percent higher than at the same time last year, and likely points towards an overall, well above average wheat harvest. Yields per hectare were also reported to have increased from last year. Already by July, the price of first grade wheat flour was down across much of the country. For example, in Dushanbe, first grade wheat flour declined by seven percent from June to July (Figure 2). Other crops have also been reported to be doing well and having high yields and production.

    Conditions in Kazakhstan have been generally favorable for wheat production with continued rain through August. Though the later than usual start of season and colder than usual spring may have delayed some wheat growth and may delay the harvest in some localized areas. The Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) is generally above average in the northern, wheat surplus-producing oblasts, indicating strong crop growth. Kazakhstan serves as the primary source of imported wheat and wheat flour.

    Figures Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Nominal first grade wheat flour prices in Dushanbe, January 2007 to July 2013, Tajikistani somoni (TJS) per kilogram (kg)

    Figure 2

    Nominal first grade wheat flour prices in Dushanbe, January 2007 to July 2013, Tajikistani somoni (TJS) per kilogram (kg)

    Source: World Food Program

    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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