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Well distributed spring rains likely to lead to an average to above average wheat harvest

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Tajikistan
  • May 2013
Well distributed spring rains likely to lead to an average to above average wheat harvest

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through September 2013
  • Key Messages
    • Remittances in April 2013 were at a record high for April at 267.6 million U.S. dollars, supported in part by a higher level of outmigration in 2013 which along with seasonally high labor demand, helped support seasonally improving food access.

    • With regular spring rains, the slight increase in planted area, and field reports and satellite-derived products reporting above average vegetation conditions, the prospects for the 2013 wheat harvest in Tajikistan are good. The harvest is likely to be average to above average.

    • Prices of wheat and wheat flour are likely to fall as the wheat harvest progresses in Tajikistan in June and July and also following the replenishment of Kazakhstan’s wheat stocks when the harvest starts in northern Kazakhstan in August. This should significantly increase regional wheat supply.





    • 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, and in April were 19 to 61 percent above last year’s prices.
    • Prices are likely to fall, starting as early as June, as expected wheat production in Tajikistan from June to September and in northern Kazakhstan starting in August are both likely to be average to above average in terms of volume.

    Projected Outlook through September 2013

    In April and May, as winter stocks are largely exhausted, households depend on the market for food, which they access either through credit to be paid back later in the year or through income earned through other livelihood strategies. In April, unofficial estimates of remittances were at 267.6 million U.S. dollars, marking the 23rd consecutive monthly high record. One reason for the increase is a high level of outmigration this year. With the agricultural season progressing and the harvest nearing, income from casual, agricultural labor is expected to increase further in June and 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. Soil moisture conditions are reported to be adequate, especially in southern Tajikistan. However, the wet conditions have led to an increase in the incidence of typhoid fever and likely of other waterborne diseases. However, the rains have been largely favorable for crop production. Planted area put under winter wheat from August to November 2012 was a slight increase compared to the 2011 to 2012 growing season. Winter and spring crops are currently developing well, and harvesting of winter grain crops has already begun in some lowland areas in southern Khatlon Oblast. The Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) indicates vegetation is greener than last year (Figure 2) and above the 2001 to 2010 average, especially in the populous wheat- and cotton-producing areas in Khatlon Oblast in southern Tajikistan and the northern agricultural areas in Sugd Oblast in the Ferghana Valley. Light rainfall is expected to continue in northern areas into early June.

    Despite good harvest prospects and strong supply from last year’s above average wheat harvest, wheat and wheat flour prices continue to be 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. From March to April, the price of wheat grain rose in Gharm, probably as spring planting started in the higher elevation areas of the Rasht Valley. 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.

    With the end of the lean season, the peak period of labor migration, and the approach of peak agricultural labor demand, households are entering their mostly food secure time of year. Dietary diversity increases as own produced vegetables, fruit, and nuts become available and their prices on markets decline over the course of the summer. Except for households affected by flooding, mudslides, or other natural hazards, humanitarian assistance needs reach their seasonal nadir in the summer, but this masks the high, underlying condition of chronic food insecurity in many areas of the country. 

    Figures Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year

    Source: FEWS NET

    eMODIS Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), difference between May 16 to 25, 2013 and 2012

    Figure 2

    eMODIS Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), difference between May 16 to 25, 2013 and 2012

    Source: U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)/FEWS NET

    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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