GIEWS Country Brief: Tajikistan 09-November-2010

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h The 2010 cereal production declined somewhat from last year's record due to earthquake and floods damages in several areas

h Cereal imports needs remain large despite better crops in recent years

h Recent food prices increases put at risk the improved food security situation in the country

In 2010 cereal production declined slightly from last year's record

In 2010, generally good precipitation and adequate soil moisture conditions favoured crops during the growing season, but floods and damages caused to irrigation infrastructure by a severe earthquake in January had a negative impact on crop development in affected areas. Cereal production in 2010 dropped from the previous year record level by some 5 percent but remained well above the five-year average.

Cereal imports remain large despite better crops in recent years

At national level, the significant increase in cereal output in 2009 resulted in a satisfactory food supply situation and an increase in stocks. Wheat imports (representing the bulk of cereal imports) declined in 2009/10 marketing year reflecting the higher crop output, but still covered about 50 percent of domestic utilization. In 2010/11 wheat imports are expected to increase (by around 10 percent) reflecting the lower 2010 domestic output.

Recent food prices increases put at risk the improved food security

According to the August 2010 WFP food security assessment, there has been an improvement in the overall food security situation since the previous survey in February 2010, with 7 percent (down from 10 percent) of the households interviewed classified as severely food insecure and 16 percent moderately food insecure (decreased from 21 percent). Rural households benefited from the good 2009 harvest, better livestock health and breeding, higher remittances and seasonal jobs.

However, increasing staple food prices represent the main threat to households' food security. In recent months, the price of wheat flour has increased by almost 30 percent and prices of other foods such as sugar, beef, mutton, potato, onion have also risen. High prices are mainly due to external factors: speculation of local traders due to recent wheat export ban in Russia, and reduced harvest in Kazakhstan and increase in fuel prices.