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Wheat flour prices start to marginally decline in May

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Tajikistan
  • June 2013
Wheat flour prices start to marginally decline in May

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through September 2013
  • Key Messages
    • Prices of wheat and wheat flour started to fall in May as the wheat harvest progressed in Tajikistan and prospects for northern Kazakhstan’s wheat harvest in August/September continue to be good. The grain harvest in Tajikistan is likely to be of above average volume.

    • 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 underway, and households should have time to recover from associated crop losses and damage before the lean season starts in January.

    • International labor migration from January to May was higher than last year, providing a major source of income for an increasing number of households between now and November.





    • Since May 2012, wheat and wheat flour prices rose significantly in local currency terms. This is mainly the result of rising prices in Kazakhstan from which large quantities of wheat and wheat flour are imported. First grade wheat flour prices have been largely stable since November though they have marginally declined. In May, they were 24 to 60 percent above last year’s prices.
    • Prices are likely to continue fall, reflecting falling prices of milling wheat in Kazakhstan. , Wheat production in Tajikistan from June to September is likely to be above average in terms of volume. While very early in the growing season, conditions in northern Kazakhstan are much better than last year. The harvest in August is also likely to be average to above average in terms of volume.

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

    • According to the Ministry of Agriculture, over 87,000 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 September 2013

    By June, 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. Through May 2013, the Migration Service of Tajikistan has recorded over 487,000 departing migrants, which is 13 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. With the agricultural season progressing and the harvest ongoing, income from casual, agricultural labor is expected to increase further in July.

    While total cumulative rainfall since the beginning of the wet season in October may still be somewhat below average, 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. Unfortunately, unusual thunderstorms have continued into June which may have damaged crops in localized areas. Locusts have also caused an above average level of crop damage this year. Winter and spring crops are currently developing well, and the harvest of winter grain crops has begun. The Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) indicates vegetation is greener than last year  in areas that have not yet started harvesting, and it is generally above the 2001 to 2010 average. Light rainfall is expected to continue in higher elevation and northern areas of the country into early July.

    Despite good harvest prospects and strong supply from last year’s above average wheat harvest, wheat and wheat flour prices continue to be somewhat high in Tajikistan. Starting in May 2012, prices rose in reaction to international price trends, primarily as the price of wheat and wheat products rose in Kazakhstan, the primary source of Tajikistan’s imports. By early May though, a slight decline in wheat flour prices started, probably to be continued into June and July, as export prices in Kazakhstan softened on expectations of a good coming harvest in August (Figure 2). Conditions in Kazakhstan are generally favorable with continued light rains, though the later than usual start of season and colder than usual spring, may have delayed some crop growth in the northern, wheat surplus-producing oblasts.

    Figures Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Wheat and wheat flour prices, July 2011 to May 2013, retail price in Tajikistan converted from TJS to USD per metric ton (MT) equivalent

    Figure 2

    Wheat and wheat flour prices, July 2011 to May 2013, retail price in Tajikistan converted from TJS to USD per metric ton (MT) equivalent


    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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