Kyrgyzstan

Second update on the food security and nutrition situation in the Kyrgyz Republic

Attachments

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Context

- The present update uses data collected by the Kyrgyz Integrated Household Survey (KIHS) between the last quarter of 2008 and the 3rd quarter of 2009.

- The reporting period takes place in the context of the global economic crisis which affected Kyrgyzstan's economy through a decline of exports (textile and construction materials), imports (reduced consumer demand) and remittances (slowdown of the construction sector in Russia where most Kyrgyz migrants work). On the positive side, the grain harvest was good in 2009 and inflation decelerated from 24.5% in 2008 to 6.8% in 2009. Financial support from the International Monetary Fund and Russia was also obtained. Real GDP growth in 2009 was estimated at 2.9%, down from 8.4% in 2008.

- On 7 April 2010, violent civil protests erupted in the capital city Bishkek and provoked the dismissal of the President. An interim government was instituted but tensions continued, leading to a vacuum of national counterparts in many institutions at central and local levels, freezing of bank assets, and closure of borders, and disruption of the spring planting season.

How many are food insecure and malnourished?

- At national level, the prevalence of food security did not change much between 2006 and the 3rdrd quarter of 2009: about 1/3 of the population are food insecure including 1/5th severely food insecure. The prevalence of food insecurity remains lower in urban areas (29%) than in rural areas (37%).

- This constancy highlights the chronic nature of food insecurity, despite the shocks of the high food and fuel prices in 2008 and global financial crisis in 2009. The rise of cash and pension levels early 2009 was not sufficient to uplift the food insecure out of poverty and improve their access to food. Furthermore, food prices at local level may not have come down significantly despite downward trends noted in central markets.

- However, some variations are noted according to locations. Transitory food insecurity above 'chronic' levels was noted in urban areas during the 2nd quarter of 2009. The relatively rapid return to usual levels and the stability in rural areas may be explained by the good harvest in 2009 and the slowdown of inflation which contained the rise of food and non-food prices, as well as increased government's spending in the social (including a rise of pensions), health care and education sectors.

1- The prevalence of acute malnutrition among children under 5 remained low (1.3%), except in Batken oblast (7.6%). Growth retardation affected almost one out of 3 children below 5 years of age in 2008.