Food Security Update and Implications of Ukraine Conflict in Tajikistan (April 2022)

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Executive Summary

• The impact of sanctions on Russia is likely to be felt by countries with strong economic ties to Russia, including Tajikistan. Studies have highlighted that a sharp economic slowdown in Russia will have a high impact on remittances and in some cases, trade for Tajikistan.

• Before the Ukraine conflict, the economy of Tajikistan was expected to make further rebounds after a slump in 2020. However, with a slowdown in remittances expected due to the Ukraine conflict, this anticipated continuation of economic recovery in 2022 is unlikely to come to fruition.

• Domestically, prices of some key food commodities continued to rise throughout 2021 across major markets in Tajikistan. This included wheat flour, cotton and vegetable oil, and meat, as well as fuel (petrol and diesel). In 2022, prices of some commodities have risen after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, including wheat, sugar, cooking oil as well as fuel. As of 28 March 2022, compared to a month before, prices of petrol and diesel rose by 19 and 21 percent respectively, wheat flour by 15 percent, sugar by 16 percent and vegetable oil by 5 percent.

• The food security assessment carried out by WFP in August 2021 classified almost one-fifth of the households in Tajikistan as food insecure. Additionally, a higher proportion of femaleheaded households were classified as food insecure compared to male-headed households. Lack of affordability was highlighted as one of the main reasons for food insecurity.

• The assessment also highlighted high reliance of almost one-fifth of the households on seasonal migration by bringing remittances from abroad, mainly Russia. If the Russian economy struggles from economic sanctions, the Tajik migrants will face the prospect of losing jobs in Russia causing the remittance dependent households to lose their primary income source.

• The assessment found that around 32 percent of households were spending more than 65 percent of their total expenditure on food and these households are going to be the hardest hit from rising prices and income losses.

• It is projected that a combined impact of remittance loss and price rise is likely to cause an increase in food insecurity in Tajikistan by 16 percentage points, from 20 percent to 36 percent across Tajikistan.

Source: World Food Programme