Many Tajiks reduce their food consumption in comparison to pre-pandemic time, says World Bank survey

6 months ago Web Desk 0

As Tajikistan struggles with the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, a significant number of the country’s 9.5 million people are reportedly forced to eat less, with many skipping meals entirely and some even going hungry.


Radio Liberty says that according to the phone-based survey, Listening to Tajikistan (L2T), more than 30 percent of the respondents said they have reduced their food consumption in comparison to pre-pandemic times. More than 5 percent reportedly said they had to go hungry because they can’t afford food.


One-third of the respondents to the report — which surveyed some 1,400 households across Tajikistan — said they often skip meals due to a shortage of food.


More than 45 percent said food security along with the health of their loved ones has become their main worry since the pandemic began.


The survey has been conducted monthly in each region of Tajikistan since 2015. Its latest findings were released on December 23 in the report, Tajikistan: Economic Slowdown Amid the Pandemic.


The report says the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant adverse impact on the Tajik economy. Real GDP growth slowed to 4.2 percent year-on-year in the first nine months of 2020, compared to 7.2 percent a year earlier. Restrictions on labor mobility and economic activity at home and abroad resulted in lower migrant remittances, weaker consumer demand, and reduced investments. Although exports enjoyed a record global demand for gold, the domestic market collapsed, suggesting a more severe impact of COVID-19 on domestic jobs and incomes.


According to Tajikistan: Economic Slowdown Amid the Pandemic, a growing share of the population reported reducing their food consumption, and the inability of previously returned migrants to travel abroad led to a significant increase in the unemployment rate.


The healthcare system reportedly faces unprecedented pressure to accommodate a sudden influx of patients. International financial institutions and partner countries rushed with financial and in-kind aid to help Tajikistan contain the pandemic’s impact. In an effort to ameliorate the economic fallout, the authorities deferred tax collections, boosted health and social spending, and eased monetary policy. They established an interagency task force to address health challenges emerging from the pandemic.


Source: Asia Plus