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Continued stable prices and seasonal improvements reduce concerns as spring approaches

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Tajikistan
  • February 2014
Continued stable prices and seasonal improvements reduce concerns as spring approaches

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected outlook through June 2014
  • Key Messages
    • Recent increased precipitation in the majority of the country is significantly reducing deficits, and allowing farmers to prepare for spring cultivation.
    • Higher than last year net grain production and continued inflow of imports from Kazakhstan have kept wheat and wheat flour prices stable in Tajikistan.
    • Current above-average stocks will keep poor households with Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity outcomes for the scenario period.

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

    Projected outlook through June 2014

    The 2013 wheat harvest produced 15 percent more than in 2012, enabling households to store above-average amounts of wheat for winter and the lean season. Wheat prices in Kazakh source markets decreased steadily during 2013. In January 2014, prices were more than 30 percent lower than during the same time the previous year. Wheat grain and flour prices were stable in Tajikistan between December 2013 and January 2014 due to the availability of sufficient Kazakh imports and the progression of the domestic spring wheat harvest. Average wheat flour prices in Tajikistan were 15 percent lower than their respective January 2013 levels (USDA). Although potato prices continued to increase slightly between December and January as supplies from the recent local harvests declined, they remain near to their price levels from last year. Markets in the near term are therefore expected to remain supplied with local and regionally sourced wheat grain and flour during the remainder of the lean season (through March/April).

    An analysis of the food basket for Tajikistan was carried out by the World Food Programme, illustrating the variation in prices of staple foods over the last quarter, and confirming that the current cost of the food basket is slightly below last year, however still above the five-year average (Figure 1). These above-average prices as compared to the baseline reflect the residual effects of the 2010 devastation of crops in the Black Sea region and subsequent price hikes/currency fluctuations. Therefore, given the accessibility of foods last year despite higher than normal prices, the food security of poor households is unlikely to be affected in 2014 assuming that there will be near normal spring harvest.

    Temperatures in January 2014 were near normal with slight variations depending on elevation. According to the Hydrometeorology Center in Tajikistan, water levels in the Yakhshu and Kizilsu rivers (southern part), as well as in the rivers in the southern slope of Hissar range, were expected to increase based on February precipitation forecasts. According to NOAA, February showed improvements, with the central and eastern areas of the country experiencing normal to slightly above normal NDVI (normalized difference vegetation index) levels, while the north and south in western Tajikistan experienced 80 to 90 percent of normal (Figure 2).

    A high risk of possible disasters due to snowfall, frost, and avalanches continues throughout March, while there is a low risk of floods and mudflows. Temperatures are expected to be around seasonal norms across the country. Monthly average precipitation is expected to be above normal in Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO), above and within the norm in Khatlon Province, and below normal in Sughd Province (Ministry of Economic Development and Trade).

    Forecasts of El Niño-Southern Oscillation-like conditions have increased to a probability of 50 percent. Although sea surface temperatures as of late June/July may be slightly above normal, effects of this phenomenon are not likely to indicate any major anomalies for Tajikistan. FEWS NET will be closely monitoring any changes as 2014 progresses. Winter crops such as winter wheat and barley are expected to continue with their usual seasonal growth uninterrupted.

    Figures Seasonal calendar for a typical year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal calendar for a typical year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 1. Magnitude of quarterly price changes and their impacts on the cost of the food basket in Tajikistan

    Figure 2

    Figure 1. Magnitude of quarterly price changes and their impacts on the cost of the food basket in Tajikistan

    Source: WFP (Feb 2014)

    Figure 2. eMODIS 250m Percent of Normal NDVI, February 16 to 25, 2014

    Figure 3

    Figure 2. eMODIS 250m Percent of Normal NDVI, February 16 to 25, 2014

    Source: USGS/NOAA

    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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