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Volume of wheat harvest was well above average

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Tajikistan
  • September 2013
Volume of wheat harvest was well above average

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  • Key Messages
  • Summary
  • Projected Outlook through December 2013
  • Key Messages
    • According to the Ministry of Agriculture, over 661,000 metric tons (MT) of wheat had been harvested by September 2. This is 23 percent more than the same time last year. Last year’s harvest was above average, and this year’s will likely be even further above average. Many rural households depend on their own wheat production as a major source of food, and wheat-producing households would likely be able to store above average household wheat stocks this year.

    • In addition to the wheat harvest, the potato harvest also may be doing well. Prices of potatoes fell from July to August in Gharm and Khujand, markets that serve the higher elevation, surplus-producing areas for potatoes.

    • Labor outmigration continued at record levels in August, and this is expected to provide remittances to many rural and urban households.


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    No anomalies expected to have a significant impact on food security are observed or projected for September to December.


    Projected Outlook through December 2013

    By September, rural households in most of the country have shifted from consuming food primarily purchased on markets and often imported to food produced by the household or produced domestically within Tajikistan. At the same time, diets become more diverse in both rural and urban areas, as households gain more access to locally produced vegetables, fruit, and milk products in addition to the staples of wheat flour, vegetable oil, potatoes, and rice. Prices also are declining slightly along seasonal patterns. According to the World Food Program’s (WFP’s) September 2013 Market Price Report, the cost of the minimum food basket in Dushanbe increased slightly between July and August as government efforts to control prices of some commodities during Ramadan in late July/early August ended, resulting in slight increases in the prices of first grade wheat flour and meat in Dushanbe.

    Through August 2013, the Migration Service of Tajikistan had recorded over 739,000 outmigrations, which is 16 percent more than last year. August was another record in terms of the number of outmigrations, though they have fallen since their seasonal peak in March/April. Continued high labor migration levels will likely lead to higher labor migration earnings and remittances being sent back to Tajikistan between now and November. Another key source of income, unskilled casual labor, had mostly flat wage rates between July and August, though there were marginal increases in the rates per day of labor in both Dushanbe and Kurgan-Tyube, possibly due to high agricultural labor demand in southern and central Tajikistan.

    While total cumulative rainfall from the beginning of the wet season in October through June was somewhat below average, rain and snow 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. Thunderstorms and locusts caused an above average level of

    crop damage this year, but overall, grains and other crops have performed well. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, as of September 2, with 95 percent of the planted area for wheat having been harvested, the wheat crop was estimated to be 23 percent higher than last year’s already above average level. The overall well above average harvest of wheat appears to should allow producing households to store an above average amount of wheat for winter and the lean season or to make additional, above average sales.

    The potato harvest is likely proceeding well. The price of a kilogram of potatoes fell 18 percent and 19 percent from July to August in Gharm and Khujand, respectively. These markets serve higher elevation potato surplus-producing areas in the Rasht Valley and northern Tajikistan, respectively. Price changes of this magnitude (Figure 2) point towards a likely average to above average potato harvest as the drop in prices was slightly more than the typical, seasonal decline.

    Conditions in Kazakhstan have been generally favorable for wheat production with rains having continued in northern Kazakhstan in late July and August. However, the later than usual start of season and colder than usual spring may have delayed some wheat growth and may delay the harvest in some localized areas. The Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) has generally remained above average in the northern, wheat surplus-producing oblasts, indicating strong crop growth and development. Also, recent price trends indicate trader expectations of a large harvest. With Russian markets likely having reduced demand for wheat exports this year, Kazakhstan should have adequate amount of wheat to export to Central Asian countries like Tajikistan. Kazakhstan serves as the primary source of imported wheat and wheat flour.

    With the El Niño-Southern Oscillation conditions likely to remain neutral for the remainder of the year, early seasonal forecasts for the October to May we season also do not indicate any major anomalies for expected precipitation. If the wet season begins mostly normally in October/November, planting of winter crops like winter wheat and barley should proceed on a typical schedule and with near normal planted area.

    Figures Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Nominal potato prices in Gharm, January 2007 to August 2013, Tajikistani somoni (TJS) per kilogram (kg)

    Figure 2

    Nominal potato prices in Gharm, January 2007 to August 2013, Tajikistani somoni (TJS) per kilogram (kg)

    Source: WFP

    Figure 3


    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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