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Recent precipitation reduces seasonal deficits, benefitting winter and spring crops

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Tajikistan
  • March 2014
Recent precipitation reduces seasonal deficits, benefitting winter and spring crops

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through June 2014
  • Key Messages
    • Recent ongoing precipitation in the majority of the country is helping to further reduce deficits, allowing winter crops to emerge and spring wheat crops to successfully develop in rainfed areas.
    • For the second consecutive year, above-average wheat production and continued imports from Kazakhstan are decreasing wheat and wheat flour prices in Tajikistan, enabling rural and urban households to have more food access during the ongoing lean season.
    • Current above-average stocks will keep poor households with Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity outcomes for the scenario period.
    ZONECURRENT ANOMALIESPROJECTED ANOMALIES

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


    Projected Outlook through June 2014

    Rural households dependent on own production are gradually exhausting their above-average stocks as the wheat harvest for the current consumption year was 15 percent above the previous year, in addition to the usual levels of income generated from the potato harvest sale. However for those whose stocks have already been depleted, they are relying more heavily on market purchase for the remainder of the lean season, ending with start of next harvest in May 2014. These households are currently benefiting from low and stable wheat flour prices in Tajikistan mainly from continued wheat imports from Kazakhstan and from seasonal remittances.

    Wheat prices in Kazakhstan, the main source of wheat for Tajikistan, were stable from December 2013 to February 2014, though they were 36 percent below last year (FAO Global Food Price Monitor). Towards the end of February, concerns were raised about potential Kazakh grain export restrictions. However, the Kazakh Ministry of Agriculture stated that the 9 million MT of potential grain export for the current marketing year (July 2013 to June 2014) will reflect a 26 percent increase in exports over last year during the same period. Kazakhstan will continue exporting surplus production to the global market, and in turn, maintain stable wheat flour prices in Tajikistan.

    A recent decline in fuel and transportation costs also helped to keep prices low. Wheat flour prices eased further in February and significantly decreased compared to 2013. This provides rural households with an opportunity for better market access as they have consumed nearly all of their winter stocks (Figure 1). Overall, wheat flour prices show declining trends after their above-average prices in 2012, a year of below-average harvests in Tajikistan and Kazakhstan. Prices of staple potatoes continued to increase and reached record or near-record levels in February in some markets; seasonal increases are common given the diminishing market supply of potatoes (FAO Global Food Price Monitor, March 2014).

    The Hydrometeorology Center of Tajikistan expects rain at lower elevations and rain turning into snow at higher elevations of the country during March. As well, intense precipitation forecasts could cause the temperature to drop to minus 10 degrees in higher elevations. An increase in the water level can be expected in the Yakhsu and Kizilsu rivers (in the south), in Obikhingnov, and in rivers on the southern slope of the Hissar range.

    As temperatures seasonal increase in Tajikistan, the probability of occurrence of natural disasters, such as avalanches, landslides and mudflows are increases in March and April. Avalanches are frequent, as are the risk of floods in the foothills. The areas most prone to avalanches are between Khorog and Ishkashim, between Rushan and Khorog and further to Kalaihum, Darvaz district, in Western Badakhshan.

    The current wet season, from October 1, 2013 through March 10, 2014, compared with last years’ wet season and with the long-term average, shows significant precipitation deficits. However, field reports from UNDP and FEWS NET in late February suggested that winter planting was progressing normally. Precipitation in March is very important for winter wheat crops, which emerge from their dormancy stage and planting of spring wheat on rainfed areas begins. Normalized Deviation Vegetation Index (NDVI) for first decade of March shows improvement in vegetation levels compared to last month. Most parts of the country appear to have normal and near-to-normal vegetation except for some northern areas of Sughd where the NDVI is 10 to 20 percent below normal. Biweekly precipitation forecasts predict moderate precipitation (5 – 30mm) for Tajikistan (Figure 2), particularly in the northern region, which will further reduce long-term precipitation deficits and have a positive impact on the winter and spring crops.

    Figures Seasonal calendar for a typical year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal calendar for a typical year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 1. Retail prices of wheat flour, Feb 2012 to Feb 2014, in the main cities of Tajikistan

    Figure 2

    Figure 1. Retail prices of wheat flour, Feb 2012 to Feb 2014, in the main cities of Tajikistan

    Source: State Statistics Agency of Tajikistan

    Figure 3

    Figure 2. Biweekly precipitation forecast (in mm), March 19 to April 02, 2014 for Tajikistan

    Source: USGS/NOAA

    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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