The total harvest of the 2019 cereal crops is estimated at a near-average level of 1.2 million tonnes. The planting of the 2020 winter crops has been finalized, and the harvesting began in June 2020. Weather conditions have been overall favourable throughout the growing season for winter crops.
The planting of the 2020 spring crops, to be harvested beginning in August, is ongoing. According to remote sensing analysis, precipitation conditions were good through May and June 2020 across the crop lands (Figure 2.1). According to data provided by the Agency on Statistics, it is estimated that the total area of planted crops in the first five months of 2020 was almost as large as the area from the same period in 2019 (Figure 2.2).
Given the overall favourable output of the harvest in 2019/20, the import requirements of wheat in 2020 are forecast to be close to the five-year average level. Imports still account for more than half of the domestic consumption needs of cereals, and wheat represents more than 90 percent of the cereal imports.
However, market prices of basic food items such as wheat flour and potatoes remain high in June amid strong demand due to COVID-19 concerns. Retail prices of wheat flour, which remained overall stable until February 2020, rose moderately in March– May 2020 due to increased consumer demand amid concerns over the COVID-19. Prices of potatoes, another important food staple, increased particularly in March, reaching levels twice as high as twelve months before.
Deteriorated domestic employment, reduced remittances and food consumption were reported by World Bank’s Listening to Tajikistan (L2T) survey conducted in May. Data from the Bank of Russia also showed reduced inflow of remittances from the Russian Federation in the first quarter of 2020, reflecting the combined effect of the coronavirus pandemic and devaluated Russian Rouble.