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Recent precipitation will increase the availability of water for second crops

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Tajikistan
  • February 2015
Recent precipitation will increase the availability of water for second crops

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected outlook through June 2015
  • Key Messages
    • Recent precipitation, both snow and rain, significantly increased water availability in major water basins that would provide sufficient irrigation water for the second crops, such as cotton. At the same time, this precipitation has increased the risk of avalanches and flooding in the foothills. 

    • Wheat flour prices increased further in January to a national average price of 29 percent above the five-year average. The increase in wheat flour prices has been driven by various factors, including above-average prices of imports from Kazakhstan, high domestic fuel and transportation costs, depreciation of national currency against the U.S. dollar, and seasonal demand for winter stocks.

    • Although the Russian ruble (RUB) began to recover slightly against the Tajikistani somoni (TJS) in February, the ruble has depreciated by 37 percent against the somoni since late August, reducing the purchasing power of remittances from Tajikistani labor migrants working in Russia.




    FEWS NET has not observed and does not anticipate any anomalies that would have a significant impact on acute food security projected for February to June 2015.


    Projected outlook through June 2015

    According to the Ministry of Agriculture, total domestic cereal production in 2014 was near to the previous year, while wheat production was 625,000 metric tons (MT), four percent less than in 2013. Most rural households are currently utilizing foods that are stocked from harvested production.

    Prices for wheat flour in Kazakhstan, the main source of imports for Tajikistan, have been stable since October 2014, but have remained about 20 percent higher than last year and the five-year average, mainly because of a contraction in planted area and adverse weather conditions that affected yields. Because of current wheat price stability in Kazakhstan, the increase in wheat flour prices in Tajikistan has halted, with prices similar to the previous month in most markets. However, prices are still significantly higher than last year and the five-year average in all major markets (Figure). The highest price increase was observed in Sughd Oblast, where wheat flour prices were 26 percent higher than last year and 33 percent above the five-year average.  Prices for potatoes, another staple food, were stable between December 2014 and January 2015, but were significantly higher than last year and the average, by 30 and 57 percent respectively. The Tajikistani somoni (TJS) has depreciated against the U.S. dollar since November 2014, and was 11 percent lower than the same time last year. It is believed that the depreciation of the somoni against international currencies contributed to the increase in prices for some food commodities, mostly imported.

    During 2014, a total of 87,000 MT of cotton fiber was exported from Tajikistan, representing a 24 percent decrease as compared to 2013. However, there is some indication of a recovery in the sector, as 12,000 MT of cotton fiber was exported during January 2015, which is seven percent more than the first month of 2014. The decrease in cotton exports in 2014 was attributed to a drop of 22 percent in international cotton prices between January 2014 and January 2015, as well as a reduction in raw cotton production in the country.

    The value of remittance flows from the Russian Federation to Tajikistan decreased in 2014 due to the depreciation of the Russian ruble (RUB) against the Tajikistani somoni (TJS) and other currencies, and a reduction in labor opportunities in the weakening Russian economy. For example, according to the office of the National Bank of Tajikistan, remittance flows to Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO) decreased by 18 percent in 2014 as compared to 2013. Though in some districts the amount of Russian rubles remitted increased from last year, the dollar equivalent amount declined due to the depreciation of the ruble, reducing the purchasing power of households receiving these remittances. For instance, in Kulob District, the amount of remittances increased by three billion rubles, but the dollar equivalent amount decreased by 35 percent as compared to 2013. The U.S. dollar is an important reference currency for purchasing power due to large imports of foodstuffs in Tajikistan.

    The overall outflow of labor migrants to the Russian Federation decreased slightly in 2014. According to the Russian Federal Migration Service, about 984,500 Tajikistani labor migrants went to Russia during 2014, whereas in 2013 there were over 1.1 million laborers that migrated. The reduction is partly attributed to an amendment in the existing Russian Federation legislation on the activities of labor migrants from foreign countries.

    Most areas of Tajikistan have received increased precipitation as compared to last year, facilitating the planting of winter crops, primarily wheat. The improved precipitation will also provide a significant source of irrigation water for second crops, such as cotton and vegetables. However, some areas of GBAO have experienced rainfall deficits as compared to the 2002-2011 average. Due to intensive recent precipitation, snow water volume estimates in the majority of water basins are greater than last year, and in some southern basins they are at record historical levels, with data since 2001. All are supportive indications that water availability will be sufficient for second crops.

    The majority of households are expected to cover basic food and non-food needs during this winter from normal food and income sources. Most areas will be in Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity from now through June 2015. However, urban households and net purchasers of wheat flour in rural areas will face constraints on purchasing power due to elevated prices of wheat and wheat flour in markets.

    Figures Wheat grain and wheat flour price in Kazakhstan and Tajikistan, January 2014 to January 2015

    Figure 1

    Wheat grain and wheat flour price in Kazakhstan and Tajikistan, January 2014 to January 2015

    Source: FAO/GIEWS

    Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    Figure 2

    Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 3


    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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