Tajikistan Current Statement, November 2011

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Below-normal precipitation and shortages of irrigation water have reduced cereal production in Tajikistan to 20-25 percent below last year’s level. Despite poor harvests and very high fuel and wheat flour prices in Tajikistan, the food security conditions for poor households is likely to remain stable as a result of record breaking levels of remittances and a good wheat harvest in Kazakhstan this year. Also, major cash crops like cotton, potatoes and oil seeds were better than normal this year, according to a recent FAO crop prospects assessment.

Between June and October 2011, wheat flour prices remained relatively stable in most markets in Tajikistan; however, prices remain high compared to 2010 prices and are still above their 2008 levels. In Gharm and Khorog, wheat flour prices eased between June and September following decreased wheat harvests this year and the cut in export duties on fuel by Russian, Tajikistan’s main supplier. However, in October 2011 wheat flour prices in Gharm remained constant (-1 percent) as last month, and 43 percent higher than a year earlier due to decrease in this year’s wheat production. The slight downward direction of prices reflects recent imports from Kazakhstan. Even in good production years, Tajikistan imports half of its wheat consumption requirements. Following a decrease in Kazakhstan’s wheat flour prices, Tajikistan’s market seems not affected yet, but the wheat prices are expected to decrease soon. Households will be increasing demand for wheat flour to prepare for winter months soon.

During October, petrol prices increased in Khorog by five percent compared to last month. On October 1st, 2011 Russia reduced the export duty for gasoline. However, gasoline prices remain at its highest levels since 2008. It has been reported that seasonal weather changes raise the prospect of increased influenza transmission and morbidity during the fall 2011 and winter 2012.

The outlook for Tajikistan is that food security outcomes will generally remain stable assuming that remittance continue to respond to high food prices. Wheat flour prices are expected to decrease as low export wheat prices from Kazakhstan continue to excerpt downward pressure.