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Grain harvest likely more than last year

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Tajikistan
  • June 2014
Grain harvest likely more than last year

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook Through September 2014
  • Key Messages
    • The Ministry of Agriculture of Tajikistan anticipates a 1.3 million metric ton (MMT) cereal harvest this year, which is above average and 20 percent more than last year. The wheat harvest started in early June, and the amount of wheat harvested will most likely be similar to last year.
    • Cotton, an important cash crop, has developed normally this year with area planted similar to last year.
    • Poor households are able to maintain Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity outcomes between now and September due to the above-average predicted wheat harvest for third consecutive year and its effects on availability of staple foods in markets, labor demand, and labor wages.

    FEWS NET has not observed and does not anticipate any anomalies that would have a significant impact on acute food security projected for June to September 2014.


    Projected Outlook Through September 2014

    In May 2014, the Hydrometeorology Center for Tajikistan reported intense precipitation in May throughout Tajikistan, particularly in Khatlon, the Direct Rule Districts (DRD), and western parts of Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO). Similarly, satellite observations for May indicated mild to moderate precipitation between 20 and 50 millimeters (mm), primarily in eastern and central parts of the country. Rainfall from mid-May to mid-June in central and southern Tajikistan was similar to the 2001 to 2010 average, but, eastern and northern areas received less (Figure 2). Overall, mostly normal precipitation resulted in normal crops growth and development. Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) shows more robust vegetation than last year, which was an above-average agricultural production year, particularly in Khatlon Oblast where the harvest has already started. While some part of GBAO and Sughd Oblast have similar conditions to last year (Figure 3).

    This year cotton was planted on over 182,000 hectares (ha) of land, a slight decrease below last year due to substitution of other cash crops such as vegetables, annual fruits, and fodder crops. This reflects the decline in international prices for cotton though the amount of land that changed was fairly minor. Similarly, ample precipitation benefited spring crops, such as spring wheat and maize. This year farmers have planted 108,800 hectares, a four percent increase from last year, with spring crops. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, wheat production is estimated at 890,000 metric tons (MT) this year, four percent less than last year as wheat cultivation lost some of its planted area to other cereals such as maize and barley.

    Tajikistan’s wheat harvest started in June. Current household wheat stocks have significantly decreased, and many households have exhausted their stocks, but in many cases, later than in a typical year. These households are currently sourcing food from market purchases though some households will switch back to their own production shortly. Wheat stocks for the coming year are expected to last for a longer period than usual, as the last two years had two consecutive above average harvests which will likely be repeated this year.

    With better than average domestic production and steady supply from Kazakhstan, wheat flour prices have been stable this year throughout Tajikistan. The five-market average first grade wheat flour price in Tajikistan has been stable since January 2014, after Tajikistan conducted an above-average wheat harvest for second year in a row. Wheat flour prices in Khujand increased six percent from April to May, but the May five-market average was seven percent lower than 2013. Potato, another staple food, increased in price from December 2013 to May, as the drawing down of stocks was accompanied by lower imports than usual. Potatoes prices increased nearly in all Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries, including Tajikistan where price almost doubled compared to same time of last year. Potato prices are likely to increase further in coming months until the next harvest is conducted in August/September. It is reported to tackle the situation for coming years, Tajikistan’s government plans import higher-yielding botanical potato seeds from Russia. Overall, the consumer price level increased 4.4 percent during the first five months of 2014.

    Migratory labor resumed in April with labor migrants leaving Tajikistan in search of casual labor opportunities, particularly in Russia. However, the Russian Central Bank reveals that remittances flow from Russia declined, in the first quarter of 2014 compared to last year. 644 million USD has sent through money transfer systems to Tajikistan, six percent less than last year. Similarly, the average sum of remittances per remit also declined by 13 percent from than same time of last year. Work opportunities likely decreased in Russia compared to last year. It is anticipated that labor migrant outflows and remittance inflows will seasonally increase in the third quarter of 2014 when remittances reach their seasonal peak.

    With likely average to above average crop production, normal household purchasing power for households with stable wheat flour prices, and only somewhat fewer labor opportunities during the summer due to a weaker labor market in Russia, most households will satisfy their basic food and non-food needs without engaging in atypical coping strategies. Therefore, most households are classified with Minimal (IPC Phase 1) between now and September.

    Figures Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    Source:

    Figure 2. Rainfall, 30-day percent of 2001 to 2010 mean, May 17 to June 15, 2014

    Figure 2

    Figure 2. Rainfall, 30-day percent of 2001 to 2010 mean, May 17 to June 15, 2014

    Source: U.S. Geological Survey/FEWS NET

    Figure 3. eMODIS Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) for May 21 to 31, 2014, difference from last year

    Figure 3

    Figure 3. eMODIS Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) for May 21 to 31, 2014, difference from last year

    Source: USGS/FEWS NET

    Figure 4

    Source:

    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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