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A poor start of the rainy season may prevent winter crop planting.

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Tajikistan
  • November 2012
A poor start of the rainy season may prevent winter crop planting.

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through March 2013
  • Key Messages
    • Record high September remittances of 308.4 million USD in October, high meat prices indicating high livestock prices, and steady casual labor wages are supporting food consumption and winter food stocking in Tajikistan.

    • High wheat and wheat flour prices and lower than usual terms of trade between unskilled labor and imported wheat flour may be limiting the ability of some households to prepare for winter and the lean season.

    • The wet season has had a slow start with most river basins receiving below average rains from October 1 to November 20. Early wet season rains support land preparation and sowing for winter crops such as winter wheat and barley to be harvested from May to July 2013.

    ZONE

    CURRENT ANOMALIES

    PROJECTED ANOMALIES

    National

    • Wheat and wheat flour prices are rising faster than usual following the harvests in Tajikistan and Kazakhstan, probably due to high export prices this year in Kazakhstan.
    • Wheat and wheat flour prices will likely rise further in Kazakhstan, the primary exporter to Tajikistan.

    Khatlon, Direct Rule Districts (DRD), Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO)


    Projected Outlook through March 2013

    Most indicators and proxy indicators of household income have remained relatively high or increased from September to October. Remittances totaled 380.4 million USD, the highest October on record and the 17th monthly record in a row.  Remittances have been supported by high levels of labor migration to Russia and Kazakhstan. As is seasonally typical, the number of returning labor migrants seasonally started to decrease from September to October and remittances have already began their seasonal decline as more labor migrants returned to the country. Of course, not every poor household receives remittances.

    Meat prices in October are much higher than last year and have grown at a rate similar to the price of grain or other food prices. As a proxy indicator for livestock prices, these indicate that incomes for pastoralists and agropastoralists may have increased since last year and that terms of trade between livestock and grain are likely to be steady and have increased over the past year.

    Both skilled and unskilled casual labor wages have remained relatively steady for several months at the World Food Program’s five monitored markets, indicating steady wages. This indicator does not necessarily also provide a measure of the availability of casual labor or the ease of finding casual labor in rural areas. In fact, compared to the cost of essential food items such as imported first grade wheat flour, terms of trade for unskilled labor to flour are declining (Figure 2). Some of the decline is seasonal, but it is now fairly low compared to other recent years.

    While incomes may be steady, wheat and wheat flour prices have continued to increase. From September to October, first grade wheat flour prices increased in all five monitored markets. The World Food Program’s (WFP) Tajikistan Market Price Report for November 2012 indicates that the domestic wheat harvest was around 800,000 metric tons (MT). The harvest is around 10 percent above the five-year average (Figure 3), probably due to overall good precipitation during the October 2011 to June 2012 growing season. Vegetation responded positively to the rains, especially in the southern wheat-growing areas, but with the increase in export prices from Kazakhstan  being transmitted to Tajikistan, prices are rising. Even in a year of above average domestic wheat production, Tajikistan must import wheat and wheat flour. For the past five years, Tajikistan has averaged around a third of its wheat from domestic production and two thirds from imports, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Production, Supply, Demand (PSD) estimates. While Kazakhstan’s 2012 August and September wheat harvest was around two-thirds of average according the PSD estimates, it was far less than last year. If there is a further spike in wheat and wheat flour prices, the poor may experience difficulty stocking for winter and making purchases during the winter, being even more reliant on credit for lean season food supplies than usual.

    The 2012/13 agricultural season has gotten off to a slow start due to below average rains in early October. However, vegetation conditions continue to appear unharmed, possibly due to the continued presence of irrigation water in some areas. Good rains and snow from last year may still be supporting adequate moisture for planting in some areas, as they have in irrigated areas in Afghanistan. Early wet season rains support land preparation and sowing for winter crops such as winter wheat and barley. If winter crops, especially wheat, are not planted before snows, spring wheat tends to be lower yielding and total, national wheat production would likely be reduced.

    Figures Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Terms of trade one day of unskilled labor to kilograms (kg) of imported first grade wheat flour, Kurgan-Tyube, Khatlon Oblast

    Figure 2

    Terms of trade one day of unskilled labor to kilograms (kg) of imported first grade wheat flour, Kurgan-Tyube, Khatlon Oblast, January 2007 to October 2012

    Source: Data Source: WFP Graphic and Analysis: FEWS NET

    Domestic wheat production, 2007 to 2012 in thousands of metric tons (MT)

    Figure 3

    Domestic wheat production, 2007 to 2012 in thousands of metric tons (MT)

    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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