GIEWS Country Brief: Tajikistan 03-January 2023

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FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  • Exceptionally high rainfall amounts hampered late planting operations of 2023 winter crops
  • Cereal output estimated at near‑average level in 2022
  • Prices of wheat flour higher than year before
  • Gross domestic product (GDP) growth forecast to slow down further in 2023 due to low remittances inflows

Exceptionally high rainfall amounts hampered late planting operations of 2023 winter crops

Planting of the 2023 winter cereal crops (mainly wheat), to be harvested from June 2023, took place between September and mid‑November. In the main wheat producing Khatlon Region, precipitation amounts were below average from September to early October and well above average afterwards. In the first dekad of November, rainfall amounts were almost five times higher than the Long‑term average (LTA) and hampered late planting activities.

Cereal output estimated at near‑average level in 2022

Harvesting of the 2022 winter cereal crops was completed last August, while harvesting of maize and other spring crops finalized between October and November. The aggregate cereal output is estimated at 1.1 million tonnes, including 840 000 tonnes of wheat, 220 000 tonnes of maize and 150 000 tonnes of barley. The production of all crops is close to the five‑year average levels, following overall favourable weather conditions during the season and near‑average plantings.

Cereal imports in 2022/23 forecast at near‑average level

Imports account for more than half of the domestic consumption needs of cereals and wheat represents more than 90 percent of the cereal imports. Given the favourable 2022 harvest, import requirements of wheat in the 2022/23 marketing year (July/June) are forecast at average level of 1.1 million tonnes. During the last ten years, due to improved local milling capacities, imports of wheat grain have been increasing, while purchases of wheat flour have decreased by almost 90 percent.

Prices of wheat flour higher than year before

National average retail prices of first grade wheat flour increased sharply between February and May 2022, reflecting rising global export quotations and a surge in consumer demand, amidst fears of shortages following the outbreak of the war in Ukraine. Prices declined by 6 percent between June and November, after the harvest of the 2022 wheat crop, but remained well above their levels in November 2021 due to increases in costs of production and transport.

National average prices of potatoes, another important food staple, increased sharply between April and July 2022, and declined afterwards, in line with seasonal trends. In November 2022, they were about 10 percent lower than a year earlier.

GDP growth forecast to slow down further in 2023 due to low remittances inflows

In recent years, remittances accounted for about 30 percent of the country’s GDP and their majority originated from the Russian Federation. In 2022, the country experienced a sharp reduction in remittances inflows, mainly due to the international sanctions against the Russian Federation, following the outbreak of the war in Ukraine. The trend is likely to persist in 2023. According to estimates by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the GDP growth slowed down from 9.2 percent in 2021 to 5.5 percent in 2022 and it is forecast to average 4 percent in 2023.

The international sanctions are causing high unemployment rates and depressing the demand for goods and services in the Russian Federation, reducing work opportunities also for migrants. This situation has a negative impact on the food security situation of households that are highly dependent on remittances.

 

Source:  Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations