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Unusually dry conditions in Tajikistan are unlikely to affect the winter harvest

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Tajikistan
  • November 2013
Unusually dry conditions in Tajikistan are unlikely to affect the winter harvest

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook Through December 2013
  • Key Messages
    • Despite increased precipitation observed over the southern and eastern parts of Central Asia, accumulated precipitation deficits were present over the majority of Tajikistan during the second half of November, resulting in a late start of the rainy season.

    • According to the Ministry of Agriculture, 650,146 metric tons (MT) of wheat were harvested this year by November 11, which is 28.6 percent more than the already above-average 2012 harvest. This year’s above-normal national supply of wheat is vital for rural household’s food consumption and winter stocking for poor households throughout the country.

    • A forecast of normal precipitation is expected for the winter season; therefore, no effects for the winter harvest are anticipated. Households are expected to remain in Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity for the scenario period.

    ZONE

    CURRENT ANOMALIES

    PROJECTED ANOMALIES

    National

    • Unusual late start to the rainy season as evidenced by rain deficits throughout the country during the second half of November.
    • None.

    National

    • Fuel tax on imports from Russia was lifted.
    • Retail fuel prices could decrease beginning in December.

     


    Projected Outlook Through December 2013

    By November, the staple grain harvests are nearly finished and rural households are relying more heavily on own and domestic food production rather than market purchases or imports. Households have gained access to locally produced vegetables, fruit, and milk products, in addition to the staples such as wheat flour, vegetable oil, potatoes, and rice.

    According to the Ministry of Agriculture, as of November 11, with the spring harvest nearing completion (over 99 percent of the planted area harvested), grain crops yielded 872,200 MT (a 34 percent increase from last year) while wheat produced an estimated volume of 650,146 MT (28.6 percent higher than last year’s already above-average level). Households will be able to store above-average amounts of wheat for winter and into the lean season or make additional, above-average sales.

    According to the World Food Program’s (WFP’s) October 2013 Market Price Report, the cost of the minimum food basket in Dushanbe was TJS137.74/US$28.22, slightly higher than in September, with the difference mainly due to increased vegetable prices (particularly cabbage and potatoes). Wheat grain and flour prices were stable or decreased in Tajikistan between September and October due to the availability of sufficient Kazakh imports and the spring wheat harvest. Prices have been stable or declining gradually following seasonal patterns due to the availability of adequate supplies from local harvests and imports from Kazakhstan.

    As the potato harvest ended, prices were stable between September and October, as supplies from the recent local harvests reached markets. Potato prices increased by seven percent between September and October in Khorog due to the limited availability of local supplies and high transportation costs from other areas. In October, prices for vegetable oil, cotton oil, and meat all remained stable and in line with seasonal trends. Wage rates for unskilled casual labor, another key source of income, were stable and did not vary throughout Tajikistan between September and October.

    During November, temperatures averaged above normal throughout Kazakhstan, while temperatures remained near average across Tajikistan. Current conditions show seasonal widespread freezing temperatures across northeast Kazakhstan. In mid November, an increase in precipitation was observed over the southern and eastern parts of Central Asia. However, accumulated precipitation deficits remained over portions of Tajikistan due to a late start of season (Figure 2). Higher amounts of precipitation are expected for December, with light to moderate precipitation throughout Kazakhstan, western Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.

    In October, fuel prices remained the same in all three markets of Dushanbe, Khujand and Kurgan-Tyube. Fuel prices remain above their respective 2012 and five-year average levels. On November 12, 2013, Russia lifted the customs duties for fuel exported to Tajikistan. This is expected to produce a 20 percent decrease in fuel import prices starting in December. Such a decrease could have implications for lower transportation costs, which in turn could lower food prices. However, if the government increases the fuel excise tax, it is not certain that the discount will be reflected in retail fuel prices. Close monitoring of fuel prices through the end of 2013 will be done to understand potential implications.

    The Migration Service of Tajikistan recorded a total of 869,538 outmigrations from January through October 2013, 13.7 percent more than the same period of last year. During the same period, 608,666 people returned to Tajikistan. Despite a growing trend in labor migration this year, monthly rates are now showing a gradual decline.

    According to NOAA, a warming trend is expected during the beginning of December over much of Central Asia. With the El Niño-Southern Oscillation conditions likely to remain neutral for the remainder of the year, seasonal forecasts for the October 2013 to May 2014 season also do not indicate any major anomalies for expected precipitation or temperature. If the rainy season is established by early December, the late start of season in Tajikistan is not likely to have a significant effect on planting of winter crops like winter wheat and barley.

    Figures Seasonal calendar for a typical year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal calendar for a typical year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Total rainfall as compared to the average for November 11 to 20, 2013

    Figure 2

    Figure 2. Total rainfall as compared to the average for November 11 to 20, 2013

    Source: USGS/NOAA

    Figure 3

    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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