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Above-average wheat harvest projected for third consecutive year

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Tajikistan
  • May 2014
Above-average wheat harvest projected for third consecutive year

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected outlook through September 2014
  • Key Messages
    • Precipitation in March and April has been sufficient to support an anticipated good wheat harvest in June. Harvest levels will be similar to 2013, and above average.
    • As the marketing year comes to an end, wheat prices are stable, and 13 percent lower than their respective 2013 levels. Potato prices have increased steadily due to low regional supply and higher import prices from Pakistan.
    • Poor households are able to maintain Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity outcomes throughout the scenario period due to remaining stocks from above-average wheat harvests in the last two consecutive years and an anticipated above average 2014 harvest.





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


    Projected outlook through September 2014

    In April 2014, the USGS reported widespread rain and high-elevation snow (10 – 75 mm, liquid equivalent) across Tajikistan, particularly in southern regions. Similarly, the Hydrometeorology Center for Tajikistan reported intense precipitation occurring throughout Tajikistan, with rains in lower elevation turning to snow at higher elevations. Though intense precipitation and snow melt across Tajikistan resulted in flooding and trigged landslides in the foothills, increased groundwater is benefitting wheat crop development, and supporting irrigation for spring crop cultivation, including cotton.

    Current household wheat stocks are seasonally decreasing as the current marketing year ends, and households are relying more on market purchase.  However, wheat stocks are expected to last for a longer period compared to the last two years due to two consecutive good harvests in Tajikistan. Current Normalized Difference Vegetation Index shows improved crop growth compared to the same period in 2013, an above-average year in terms of agricultural production.  NDVI imagery, suggests that timely and favorable precipitation will result in a good wheat harvest, which should begin in June (Figure 1).  Overall, the development and expected supply of the seasonal wheat crop is satisfactory, with no major anomalies anticipated.  With a strong likelihood of an above wheat harvest this year, Tajikistan will benefit from the third consecutive above-average wheat harvest, favoring price stability and household availability of this staple crop.

    Wheat flour prices have steadily declined since July 2013, following a country-wide above-average harvest, and have continued to decrease more rapidly since January 2014 due to a favorable wheat harvest in Kazakhstan. Prices are currently stable at the end of marketing year and remain an estimated 13 percent lower than their respective 2013 levels. The average price of potatoes, a staple food in Tajik diet, increased significantly in April (36 percent ) compared to March prices due to decreased availability in local and regional markets following with a lag in potato imports from  Afghanistan. When compared to April 2013 levels, potatoes prices have increased by 70 percent higher, and are at most elevated in Dushanbe, the main market for Rash Valley. Higher potatoes prices will hinder food access to those households whose food diet concentrated more on potatoes consumption and solely reliant on market purchase.

    Labor opportunities resumed in April with the onset of the spring season, and labor migrants started leaving Tajikistan in search of casual labor opportunities in neighboring countries, and particularly, Russia. FEWS NET is currently monitoring the potential of current and proposed sanctions on Russia, which could trigger financial and political concerns, particularly in terms of seasonal migrant labor.  Seasonal labor in Russia is a key income earning and livelihoods activity for over 1 million Tajik workers.  To date, FEWS NET has not observed any impact on income earning at the household level, but will continue to track labor migration trends as the season continues.

    The cultivation of spring crops, including grains, cash crops, potatoes, vegetables, melons, and fodder crops continues to progress normally and is still underway in some higher elevation areas, such as Gorno Badakhshan and Rasht Valley (Food Security and Agriculture Highlights for Tajikistan). Cotton cultivation in the southern Tajikistan, the most surplus producing area, is nearly complete.  Nearly all of the cropping area (87 percent) for cotton has been completed this year, with a target of 199, 451 hectares, a four percent increase compared to last year. Sufficient precipitation from March to April has favored at least average production of spring crops.  

    Given the positive impact of current precipitation on crops, normal purchasing power for households from stable wheat flour prices (local and Kazakhstan harvests), and projected normal labor opportunities during spring and summer, most households will satisfy their basic food and non-food needs without engaging in atypical coping strategies, including any reliance on humanitarian assistance. Therefore, households are classified with Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food security outcomes throughout the scenario period.

    Figures Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal calendar in a typical year


    Figure 1. eMODIS 250m NDVI for Tajikistan, May 11-20, 2014, compared to last year

    Figure 2

    Figure 1. eMODIS 250m NDVI for Tajikistan, May 11-20, 2014, compared to last year

    Source: USGS/NOAA

    Figure 4


    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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