FAO GLOBAL INFORMATION AND EARLY WARNING SYSTEM ON FOOD AND AGRICULTURE
WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME

SPECIAL REPORT

FAO/WFP CROP AND FOOD SUPPLY ASSESSMENT MISSION TO TAJIKISTAN

7 August 2001

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    Mission Highlights

  • Tajikistan faces a serious food deficit for the second year in a row as a consequence of unfavourable climatic conditions that have exacerbated structural problems and deteriorating conditions of the agricultural sector.
  • Cereal output in 2001 is forecast at 303 000 tonnes, down by 15 percent compared to last year's revised estimates and by 36 percent compared to the average of the past five years.
  • Cereal import requirement for the marketing year 2001/02 is estimated at 784 000 tonnes, including an estimated commercial import capacity of 400 000 tonnes and a food aid pledge of 43 000 tonnes, which leave an uncovered gap of 341 000 tonnes.
  • Targeted food assistance, between October 2001 and June 2002, including about 90 500 tonnes of emergency food aid, is recommended for about one million vulnerable people, particularly those living in the remote border areas and the mountainous regions.
  • Urgent assistance is needed for the rehabilitation of the collapsing irrigation infrastructure, the maintenance and renovation of agricultural equipment, production and procurement of appropriate quality cereal seeds, and the establishment of an adequate rural finance system. Without such measures, it is likely that agricultural production will continue to decline regardless of the climatic conditions.

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1. OVERVIEW

Cereal production in Tajikistan, particularly wheat, has been steadily declining since a peak production in 1997. Last year's drought severely impacted the country's already fragile agricultural sector that has faced severe structural problems due in part to the civil strife and political instability of the mid 1990s. Furthermore, shortage of financial and technical resources has also resulted in a near collapse of the country's irrigation systems, agro-processing industries, agricultural input production and supply units, as well as in the severe deterioration of farm machinery and equipment. Reduced rainfall in 2000/2001 has further exacerbated the adverse conditions of the agricultural sector. It is in this context that the Government of Tajikistan requested FAO and WFP assistance in reviewing the country's food situation and outlook for 2001/02 marketing year. Consequently, an FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission was fielded from 19 June to 3 July to estimate the 2001 cereal harvest and cereal import requirement, including food and agricultural assistance needs, for the marketing year 2001/02.

The Mission visited 30 of the 58 districts, including the worst affected areas in the border regions and mountainous districts, in three of the country's four provinces. The Mission held extensive discussions with Government officials at central, provincial, district and local levels; officials and members of collective (kolkhoz) and state (sovkhoz) farms; private (dehkan) farmers; staff of UN agencies and NGOs. The Mission also benefited from the pre-assessment survey conducted by the country office of the WFP. Area and yield estimates and forecasts contained in this report are based on insights obtained from these discussions as well as observations and analyses of field conditions including the performance of weather. Vegetation index (NDVI) images at one kilometer resolution from the SPOT-4 satellite, which depicts vegetation vigor and extent, were used to compare vegetation conditions for the current growing period to those of recent years.

During its extensive field visits the Mission observed that both the winter and spring rainfed wheat crops (harvested during June-July) had failed in several places. At the national level, the average yield for the irrigated wheat is estimated at 1.2 tonnes/ha whilst that for rainfed wheat is forecast at 0.35 tonnes/ha. The yields for other secondary crops were also relatively low when compared to the previous year. Water levels in rivers and canals have been much less this year compared to normal flows, seriously constraining the scope for irrigation. The poor condition of the irrigation systems and lack of operational farm equipment further compound this problem. Timely availability of quality seeds, fertilizers, agro-chemicals, electricity, and diesel is another constraining factor. If the current structural problems facing the agriculture sector are not addressed in the immediate future, crop production is likely to decline further regardless of the climatic pattern. In fact, reduced rainfall and snowfall for the second year has only aggravated the already severe structural and technical problems faced by the agricultural sector.

The Mission estimates the 2001 total cereal output at 303 000 tonnes, down by 15 percent compared to the revised estimates of 2000 and 36 percent below the five year average. As a result, the cereal import requirement in the 2001/02 marketing year (July/June) is estimated at 784 000 tonnes. After taking into account a projected commercial import of 400 000 tonnes and the pledged food aid of 43 000 tonnes, the uncovered gap remains at 341 000 tonnes. A shortfall of this magnitude for this impoverished country, if not addressed by the international community through targeted interventions, could have disastrous implications, particularly for the most vulnerable population living in the remote rainfed border areas and the mountainous regions of the country. These households have already exhausted their coping capacity due to similar circumstances last year. In such areas, the Mission observed severe malnutrition including stunting and wasting in children.

The Mission identified mountainous areas and remote border areas to be the worst affected by the impact of the drought and facing serious food difficulties. Targeted food assistance, including 71 000 tonnes of wheat flour, is therefore recommended during the period October 2001 to June 2002 for about 1 036 000 people.

Some of the households living in the rainfed areas are experiencing an almost total loss of their cereal crops as well as garden production. Lack of other employment opportunities within their vicinity is substantially curtailing their purchasing power. In many cases, the terrain and lack of transportation makes it literally impossible for individuals to pursue employment opportunities outside of their immediate surroundings.

An issue of concern is the continuous decline of the cropping area for cereals diverted to cotton production. Cotton production is apparently encouraged at the expense of cereals, but unfortunately, cotton yields have also continued to decline, largely because of the failing irrigation system. In terms of foreign exchange, the revenue generated by cotton fiber exports was about $92 million for the last two years, mainly because a decrease in exports for 2000 was offset by higher prices. Given the volatile nature of world cotton prices, which have recently declined, and the country's failing agriculture sector, there is cause for concern over the food security situation in Tajikistan.

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2. SOCIO-ECONOMIC SETTING1

Tajikistan is a landlocked mountainous country of 143 000 km2 that shares its borders with China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, Kyrgyzstan in the north, and Uzbekistan in the west. Only 960 000 ha (7 percent) of the total land area is arable while the remaining is either mountainous (50 percent) with an average elevation of 3 000 meters or deserts. The climatic conditions vary widely by region and altitude - from hot dry plains to high glacial mountains. Tajikistan has about 60 percent of all glaciers in Central Asia that serve as major water reserves for the country's rivers. Like many southern Central Asian countries, Tajikistan is prone to severe earthquakes as it lies in an active seismic belt.

2.1 The economy

The political, economic, and social transition process of the past decade has brought unprecedented challenges to Tajikistan. The country gained independence as one of the poorest in the former Soviet Union and immediately thereafter lost transfers from Moscow that amounted to as much as 40 percent of GDP in the late 1980s. Furthermore, the eruption of civil strife in 1992 paralyzed the economic and structural reform process. GDP declined by almost 60 percent between 1991 and 1997. Following the process of national reconciliation that was initiated in 1997, the Government launched a comprehensive economic reform programme developed in 1996. This process, combined with relative peace and a strong supply response to favorable aluminum prices, resulted in 20 percent cumulative GDP growth rate between 1997 and 2000.

Nevertheless, the UNDP's Human Development Report for 2001 ranked Tajikistan 103 out of 162 countries in terms of Human Development Index (HDI). The World Bank estimates that 85 percent of the population of 6.34 million is living in poverty. Even with a real sustained GDP growth rate of 5 percent, it would require 15 years for Tajikistan to reach the pre-independence levels of GDP.

Agricultural output has now fallen by 55 percent compared with 1991, underlining the significant decline in productivity. The industrial sector contributes slightly more than 20 percent of GDP while employing less than one-tenth of the labour force. As a consequence of technical and financial constraints similar to those faced by the agricultural sector, the output of the industrial sector has fallen to 42 percent, employment to 48 percent, and productivity to 88 percent of 1991 levels. Unprocessed aluminum continues to be the largest export earner, followed by cotton together accounting for two-thirds of foreign exchange earnings.

The volume and value of exports of these items are shown in table 1.

Table 1 - Tajikistan: Total Revenue from Cotton and Aluminum Export

Year
Aluminum
Cotton
Revenue
($)
Quantity
(tonnes)
Average Price/tonne
Revenue
($)
Quantity
(tonnes)
Average Price/tonne
1998
233 620 656
186 609
1 252
111 974 827
88 413
1 266
1999
233 620 656
186 609
1 252
91 184 941
92 235
989
2000
433 555 330
273 541
1 585
91 828 590
78 796
1 165
Total
900 796 642
646 759
 
294 988 358
259 444
 
Average
300 265 547
215 586
1 393
98 329 453
86 481
1 137
Source: Tajikistan Custom Committee (2001).

Export revenues allowed Tajikistan to import 321 000 tonnes of wheat and 54 000 tonnes of wheat flour during 2000. Thus, any variation in international prices of aluminum and cotton fiber has direct implications for national income and food security.

Tajikistan has experienced trade and current account deficits financed through external borrowing and arrears accumulation since its independence. Despite the introduction of a flexible exchange rate policy in 1996, current account deficits still remains high. The current account deficit was reduced from 8.3 percent of GDP in 1998 to 3.4 percent in 1999 partly due the devaluation of Tajik ruble that resulted in a reduced deficit because of import compression. However, in 2000 the current account deficit increased to 6.4 percent because of higher imports of food necessitated by the drought.

External debt as of 2000 stood at $1.2 billion, of which about 43 percent was bilateral, 30 percent multilateral, and 27 percent commercial credits. The total debt servicing due in 2000 was $32 million, of which $22 million was paid. It is likely that in the coming years debt servicing may reach $70-80 million per annum as the grace periods on previously rescheduled debts are due to expire. This is likely to increase the risk of food insecurity and reduce the country's capacity to meet its rising food import bill.

2.2 Agricultural Sector Review

Tajikistan's agricultural sector faces many challenges. Agriculture has borne the brunt of the structural adjustments of the economy. Productivity of the sector has declined due to the collapse of input supply and the deterioration of the irrigation system and of farm equipment. Economic and market difficulties have led to increasing reliance on subsistence rather than commercial commodity production. Inadequate rainfall during the past years has exacerbated the much deeper problems faced by the country's agricultural sector.

In 2000, the agriculture sector accounted for 17.4 percent of the GDP. The total employed population of the country was 1.62 million, of which 67 percent was in agriculture. The average monthly wage rates in the agriculture sector are Somoni S 7.89 per day2 (US$3.1), which is about 50 percent below the national average of about S16 (US$6.3). Gross agricultural output was at about 55 percent, productivity at 44 percent, and employment at 124 percent of 1991 levels. The agricultural sector contributes about 10-20 percent of total export earnings.

Land Reforms

Official sources indicate that 39 percent of the total cropped area and 34 percent of the irrigated land area have been privatised and converted into lease farms, joint stock companies, and private (dehkan) farms including some 75 000 ha of so-called presidential lands.3 Overall, some 55 percent of the farming units have been privatised to date. The government plans to privatise a further 120 poorly performing collective farms by the end of 2001.

The most common type of dehkan farm is a family farm with an average of 4 hectares of arable land. The process of obtaining land for dehkan family farms is lengthy, involving several local and national authorities (the collective farm chairman, the district government, and the Land Resources Committee). Moreover, the transaction costs of processing and obtaining a land rights certificate range from $40 up to $200, a cost that is prohibitive for the average farmer. In certain cases, families are grouped into dehkan association and given 50-500 ha of the former collective or state farm. Land is subdivided in the dehkan association and cultivated by individual families, though crop production planning is still undertaken jointly. However, the dehkan associations still depend largely on the state farms for the provisions of inputs, equipment, and irrigation water, a situation that puts them at a disadvantage. Furthermore, the dehkan farms do not have the right to sell land under their management despite the fact that they have the land rights certificates. Land entitlements of farmers may be withdrawn because of "unsatisfactory" production performance, a situation that jeopardises investment in land and machinery.

Garden or household plots have increasingly become subsistence-oriented given the declining economic conditions of the country. According to the Tajikistan Living Standards Survey, household plots account for over 50 percent of rural families' in-kind and cash income. The average size of household plots is 0.13 ha or about one-fifth of the total arable land available per active farm employee. These plots are being used for intensive fruit, oilseed and vegetable cultivation, as well as for double cropping in the plain areas.

Input Supply

The current network of input supply institutions is inadequate and unable to meet demand from a growing number of private farmers. Moreover, due to high domestic input prices and declining profitability, the use of critical agricultural inputs, such as fertilisers, agro-chemicals, seeds and machinery has declined dramatically since independence.

The organisation of input supply actively encourages cotton production through exclusive and/or favourable supply of inputs to cotton growers, while other farmers do not have comparable access to inputs. Provision of inputs from the state distribution network is specified in contracts for cotton growing. However, unlike the price of cotton, prices for inputs are often not specified in the contracts, which sometimes results in negative terms of trade and leaves many farmers in financial difficulties. Nevertheless, since farmers do not have sufficient capital to venture into successful private farming when farms are restructured, they tend to remain dependent on the state sector for any viable farming activity.

Productive Infrastructure

Official statistics indicate that the country's irrigation network covers some 718 000 hectares of land. The irrigation system is not only vital for crop production but also an important source of drinking water and domestic water needs. In the past few years, due to severe budgetary constraints, civil war and macro-economic instability, the activities of the Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources have severely been curtailed, compromising the functions of the country's irrigation network. Most of the principal irrigation and drainage infrastructure (pumping stations, delivery pipes, diversion structures, main canals, etc.) is in danger of collapse, and maintenance is only conducted on a crisis response basis, often by using parts of the inoperative machinery, while little new investment in machinery or procurement of spare parts has taken place.

Marketing and Processing

Markets in Tajikistan are, by and large, disintegrated and suffer from severe lack of information on national and international market prices. Despite formal deregulation, the National Cotton Exchange and district governments assign crop area quotas and planned output targets to collective as well as private farms. Export operations remain in the hands of those few operators able to obtain licenses. However, farmers experience severe delays in receiving payments and the actual returns paid are very low. Furthermore, the interest of the state in promoting cotton to maintain foreign exchange earnings induces it to maintain large farms, thus limiting any restructuring in the cotton growing regions and the diversification of crops.

The marketing of other crops appears to be much more active than before liberalisation. However, a number of constraints hamper the development of a national market for agricultural products. In particular, the transaction cost of moving bulky products around the country is quite high. Traders and farmers incur many unforeseen costs across the marketing chain, from farm-gate to retailing. The transaction costs that the traders and farmers incur are then passed on to consumers in high prices for food products. Falling purchasing power of the rural households combined with distorted local consumer prices force many individuals to substantially alter or reduce their diets, despite the fact that food and non-food commodities are generally available in the markets.

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3. FACTORS AFFECTING FOOD PRODUCTION IN 2000/2001

3.1 Climate: Rainfall, Snowfall and Temperature

Figure 1 presents rainfall patterns in major food producing areas of Tajikistan for the past three years compared with long term average (LTA) levels. Rainfall has been below LTA at almost all sites, an average of 60 percent of normal levels. All current observations are worse than those of year 2000 by a minimum of 7 percent to a maximum of 61 percent. But most significantly, the precipitation in March and April, which are the key months for the wheat crop cycle, has been universally low, an average of only 44 percent of the LTA.

The relevant and effective meteoric agent is snowfall. It provides a significant recharge of soil moisture in the higher rainfed areas and a sustained source of irrigation water through rivers and reservoirs in the upper mountains. Snowfall data was not available, however snow reservoirs at the glaciers are estimated to be 40-60 percent of normal levels, similar to 2000 levels. Consequently, river flows are roughly 40 to 85 percent of the normal levels.

Figure 1 - Tajikistan: Rainfall Pattern for Selected Stations. 1999/2000, 2000/2001 and Long-Term Average

Another factor that has negatively affected this year's cereal crop performance has been the irregular temperature pattern. Average monthly temperatures have been consistently above the LTA by 1, 2 and 3 degrees in February, March and April. But maximum temperatures as high as 40 degrees Centigrade have been recorded in March and April (during wheat flowering and initial grain filling stages) accompanied by abnormally wide (17-20 degrees) temperature difference between night and day. This, together with the low precipitation in the same months, has negatively affected the crucial growth stages of the wheat crop and determined the conditions for the poor yields in the irrigated areas and crop failures under rainfed conditions.

3.2 Area Planted

The Mission estimates the area under cereals this year at 348 000 hectares, about 84 percent of which is cultivated to wheat.4 The cereal area in 2001 declined by about 2 percent compared with the CFSAM estimates in 2000 (355 000 ha). Irrigated wheat declined by about 11 percent, while rainfed wheat increased by 7 percent. Planting of secondary cereals (barley, maize and rice), which accounts for 16 percent of total cereal area, is forecast to increase by 4 percent (Table 3). The reduction in irrigated wheat area in Khatlon province has been highly significant at 80 percent. By and large wheat is irrigated marginally and in drought years. The contribution of irrigation to crop yield formation is very limited, at times ineffective during the crucial growth stages.

The Mission has observed in all provinces, a considerable decrease in irrigated wheat area to the advantage of more profitable crops, mainly cotton. Favourable conditions afforded to cotton production in the form of guaranteed purchases, and the provision of production inputs have encouraged farmers to increase the area planted to this crop. The individual cropping calendar of cotton and wheat overlaps during three months (April-June) impeding double cropping.

Planting time

Another aspect affecting the wheat production levels and the area pattern is a shift (in some areas significant) from winter to spring plantings. There is also a preoccupying delay in winter plantings that compromises yields. Both developments reflect the relatively high prices in the autumn of farm inputs and farm power coupled with declining purchasing power of farmers. This year there have been general delays in wheat plantings and in some areas an increase of spring wheat cultivation. The shorter cycled spring cereals are less rewarding in terms of yield and are also at higher risk in case of rainfall failure (as occurred in the last two seasons).

3.4 Means of production and inputs

Seeds

Lack of quality seeds in irrigated areas and the continued use of degenerated genotypes in both irrigated and rainfed systems are considered major contributing factors to declining yields in the recent past.

At present adoption rates5, the overall annual requirement of wheat seed is estimated to be some 60-65 000 tonnes. The requirement in terms of "quality" seeds, considering a four year replacement period, would amount to 15-16 000 tonnes. However, since seed replacement has not taken place during the last ten years, the actual requirement of "quality" seed is estimated to be almost equal to the overall annual seed requirement.

The availability of quality seeds is structurally constrained by lack of seed multiplication capacity6 as well as shortage of funds to import appropriate quality seeds from abroad. This situation has been aggravated by last year's drought. The Mission extensively observed spikes with few shrunk grains from fields yielding up to 0.8 t/ha. It was noted that the specific weight of 1 000 grains, normally being 42 grams, is often under 25 grams. Such grains are unsuitable for seed use. Consequently, the Mission concludes that appropriate seed availability next year will be lower than this year, which is expected to significantly compromise yields and overall output.

Fertiliser and Pesticides

The bulk of the country's fertiliser requirements (the NPK requirements are estimated at some 150 000 tonnes) are covered by imports, mainly from Uzbekistan. The fertiliser factory in Khatlon has an annual production capacity of 65 000 tonnes of Urea from natural gas. The factory was reportedly operating at 10 percent of capacity. This year, it has closed its activities, as the fertiliser has remained unsold due to high domestic prices that are well above the import parity prices.

The most common mineral fertilisers Urea, Ammonium Nitrate, SSP/TSP and KCL were universally reported to be available in the market. However, application rates of nitrogen fertilisers are some 10-15 percent lower than the crops' requirements. At the national level, the actual average application of fertiliser is considered to be 25 percent of requirements, except for cotton and other minor cash crops. This year, fertiliser use on all crops except cotton has declined significantly. The collective farming organisations have limited purchasing power, while the individual dehkan farmers are becoming increasingly impoverished and indebted due to continued failure of the cereal crops and their inability to purchase the required fertilisers. Thus, a negative soil fertility trend has commenced and is likely to continue unabated and nutrient mining will soon become apparent.

The use of all other agro-chemicals mainly applied to the cotton crop has historically been high in Tajikistan. Actual availability of pesticides and fungicides is very limited and prices are high. Reportedly, this year's agro-chemical applications on cotton have been limited and no pest or disease attack has occurred. Given the continued use of unsuitable seed, improper land preparation, lack of crop rotation practices and no access to herbicides, weeds are becoming an increasing problem and are competing with the cereal crops in exploiting the minimum moisture and nutrient content of the impoverished Tajik soils.

Farm Power

Until 1991, agriculture in Tajikistan was highly mechanised and developed under the collective and state farms. Before the collapse of the Soviet Union, the tractor ratio to cultivated hectare was as high as 1: 50. At present, agriculture machinery (tractors, combined harvesters, trucks, and sprayers) is obsolete. In most of the Kolkozes and collective dehkan farms, the actual tractor/hectare ratio is 1:250 and in some areas down to 1:350. Individual dehkan farms often have no machinery and carry out the operations manually or through draught animals. The better off farmers are able to hire tractors at high prices for the main land preparation interventions7. However, the limited availability of tractors in the country and the peak demand at wheat pre-planting time has resulted over the years in an excessive speeding-up of operations and in poor tillage practices, and as reported this year by many farm managers, in a decreased cultivated area.

Farm utensils are also technologically inadequate: the most commonly used implement is a four unit plough which operates at a depth of 25 cm and creates a hard impermeable pan which in turn does not allow for proper soil moisture retention capacity.

Irrigation

The equipped irrigated area accounts for 75 percent (718 000 ha) of total arable land (FAO/AQUASTAT). More than 46 percent (330 000 ha) of the irrigation systems relies on gravity flood irrigation fed through extensive irrigation structures (diversions, canals, rivers and reservoirs) which depend on climatic patterns, in particular snowfall in the mountains. Lift pump irrigation accounts for about 42 percent (300 000 ha) of the total irrigated area and functions between April and September. Ground water use for irrigation, in particular in the North, has been common and accounts for about 8 percent of the total irrigated area. Recently, some dehkan farmers have utilised ground water on a limited basis by digging small-scale wells, which has resulted in the development of horticultural/cash crops.

Low precipitation coupled with dilapidated irrigation structures has seriously compromised the efficacy and efficiency of irrigation. It is estimated that some 40-50 percent of the water lifting equipment is out of order and the pumps are becoming obsolete at an alarming rate due to the overuse of those still functioning. The infrastructure of canals and drainage network has suffered from lack of maintenance due to budget and institutional constraints8. Some 60 percent of the heavy machinery used for canal and drainage maintenance is out of order. The ineffectiveness of the drainage system has caused water logging and salinisation, which are becoming of increasing concern. Soils which are affected by salinity and water logging problems are estimated some 120 000-180 000 ha. Moreover, the irrigation system developed under a different agricultural and economic system for a large-scale highly mechanised and specialised production system may not be financially and economically viable under current economic conditions.

An estimated 400-500 000 hectares of crops harvested receive reduced volumes of water while some 150-160 000 ha are marginally irrigated. Hence, the irrigation intensity of the 718 000 ha of land is low with an extremely low efficiency, which will continue to worsen if urgent action is not taken. Tajikistan has the potential to double its irrigated area, owing to the abundance of water sources in the country.

With regard to emergency support required to the agriculture sector, FAO's Special Relief Operations Service will issue details of agriculture rehabilitation needs, associated costs and other measures required in a separate report.

3.4 Cereal Yield and Production

Wheat: This year the production of the irrigated wheat crop is expected to be 182 000 tonnes, about 18 percent less than the low output of 2000. Irrigated wheat has performed better in the western portion (major producing) of the central RRS province compared to other areas of the country, due to a somewhat better rainfall pattern during the autumn and winter months. In these areas also, the water flows in the irrigation systems have provided some support to wheat production in spring. The worst yields, which are lower than the already very low yields of 2000, have been found in the south-western and northern provinces. The Khatlon province is the most severely affected part of the country this year. The reduced production is to be attributed mainly to the sharp decrease (16 percent) in area cultivated under wheat and to the insufficient irrigation water available to the plant at its most crucial stages (tillering, head development, flowering and early yield formation). All other structural factors which have been described above (quality of seed, fertilisers, farm power) have also been influential.

As a result of poor rainfall, there has been an almost complete failure of rainfed wheat production. This year's production of rainfed wheat is estimated at 51 000 tonnes, down by 16 percent from last year's extremely low output. As observed by the Mission, particularly in the major rainfed producing areas wherever there has been some vegetative growth, tillering was extremely low, heading was very limited and the ripe spikes had few and shrunk grains. The total absence of rains during spring, which is the most water sensitive period for the wheat crop, has offset the favourable impact of the somewhat good autumn rains.

Rice, Maize, Barley and Vegetables: The paddy output in 2001 is expected at 25 000 tonnes, about 4 percent lower than the 2000 level due to lower water availability while the season progresses. Paddy is cultivated in low-lying riverside bank areas. While no cultivation expansion is foreseen, it is thought that farmers preference for rice in the traditionally cultivated areas will stand, as these areas are less suitable for other crops.

This year's maize output is forecast at 27 000 tonnes, an 8 percent increase compared to 2000. This is due to an increase in cultivated area under maize as directly observed by the Mission, while yields are forecast lower. Based on direct field observations the Mission estimates an overall barley output decrease of 16 percent compared to last year due to diminished irrigation coverage of the crop.

Vegetable area and output is estimated to decrease significantly this year due to irrigation water shortages.

Tables 2 and 3 present details of cereal area and production forecasts for 2001. Figure 2 shows the trends in cereal production from 1991 to 2001. The 2000 production forecast made by last year's CFSAM has been confirmed by further in depth analyses. In particular, the estimations on the wheat-cultivated area were found to be valid. However, the Mission assessment of the 1999-2000 output is somewhat higher than last year's forecast, but significantly lower than the level indicated in the official statistics (about 544 000 tonnes). The updated production estimates are provided in Table 2.

Table 2 - Tajikistan: Irrigated and Rainfed Wheat - Area, Yields and Production 2000 and Forecast 2001

Region/Crop
2000
2001
Area
Comparison
2001/2000
(percent)
Production
comparison
2001/2000
(percent)
Area
(`000/ha)
Yield
(tonnes/ha)
Production
('000 tonnes)
Area
(`000/ha)
Yield
(tonnes/ha)
Production
('000 tonnes)
Irrigated Wheat
               
GBAO
5
1.1
6
4
1
4
80
73
Leninabad (Sughd)
43
1.3
56
40
1.2
48
93
86
Khatlon
90
1.3
117
76
1.2
91
84
78
RRS
29
1.5
44
28
1.4
39
97
90
Total Irrigated Wheat
167
1.3
223
148
1.2
182
89
82
Rainfed Wheat
               
GBAO
1
0.4
0.4
2
0.4
1
200
200
Leninabad (Sughd)
16
0.4
6
16
0.3
5
100
75
Khatlon
80
0.4
32
89
0.3
27
111
83
RRS
37
0.6
22
37
0.5
19
100
83
Total Rainfed Wheat
134
0.4
61
144
0.3
51
107
84
All wheat
301
0.9
284
292
0.8
233
97
82

Table 3 - Tajikistan: All Cereals - Area, Yields and Production 1998, 1999, 2000 and Forecast 2001

Region/Crop
1998
1999
2000
2001
Area (`000/ha)
Yield (tonnes
/ha)
Produc-
tion
('000 tonnes)
Area (`000/ha)
Yield (tonnes
/ha)
Produc-tion ('000 tonnes)
Area (`000/ha)
Yield (tonnes
/ha)
Produc-tion ('000 tonnes)
Area (`000/ha)
Yield (tonnes
/ha)
Produc-tion
('000 tonnes)
Area
comparison 2001/2000
Produc-
tion comparison
2001/2000
Wheat
GBAO
6
1.5
9
6
1.8
11
6
1
6
6
0.8
5
100
83
Leninabad (Sughd)
68
1.3
89
67
0.9
61
59
1.1
62
56
1.0
53
95
86
Khatlon
196
1.2
229
183
1.2
228
170
0.9
149
165
0.7
118
97
79
RRS
70
0.9
62
70
0.9
66
66
1
66
65
0.9
57
98
87
Total Wheat
340
1.14
389
326
1.1
366
301
0.9
283
292
0.8
233
97
82
Secondary Cereals
Barley
28
0.9
26
33
0.78
25
30
0.7
21
30
0.6
18
100
86
Maize
11
3
36
12
2.92
35
11
2.3
25
13
2.1
27
118
108
Paddy
8
2.5
20
10
1.8
18
13
2.0
26
13
1.9
25
100
95
Total Secondary
47
 
82
55
 
78
54
 
72
56
 
70
104
97
Total all Cereals
387
 
471
381
 
444
355
 
355
348
 
303
98
85

3.5 Cotton

Given the prevailing priority assigned to cotton (the country's second largest export earner after aluminium), the area under this crop has continued to expand this year as well (by some 8 percent). Nevertheless, cotton suffers similar structural constraints as other crops, though to a lesser extent.

Kolkozes and remaining state farms submit their annual cropping pattern and farm production plans for Government approval. These are officially required to devote increasing resources -- land, water and other inputs -- to cotton cultivation, and irrigation water is often to be provided to the crop on a priority basis. Generally, newly created private farmers are also obliged to produce cotton as per government instructions.

Given the ever-increasing food shortages, the Government has also given priority to cereal production, but this has not been translated into effective measures to increasing cereal cultivated land and productivity.

This year, the drought and the overall situation will again adversely affect cotton production. Despite the increased area, output will at best maintain the level of last year. The Mission observed very poor cotton crops on the fields in many places as a result of irrigation water shortages and/or non-functioning/poorly functioning irrigation systems. Output is tentatively forecast at some 335 000 tonnes, about the same as the 2000 harvest, but only 40 percent of what was produced in 1991 (Figure 3).

3.6 Livestock

Tajikistan has significant livestock resources (as of 1 January 2000, the estimated number of cattle was 1.06 million and that of sheep and goats 2.22 million). The animals are mostly owned privately by households - some 70 percent in the case of sheep and goats and about 85 percent in the case of cattle. The share of the state/collective sector in livestock ownership has declined from 47 percent in 1991 to about 24 percent in 2001. Overall live stock numbers this year are about 70 percent of the livestock population in 1991 (Table 4).

The production of meat and dairy products also declined compared to the availability prevailing during the FSU time but the actual consumption levels are not among the lowest of other LIFDCs. According to official data on meat and milk production the annual per capita availability is now 9.5 kg of meat and 50 kg of milk.

The dry matter production capacity of the pasture land (about 3.6 million hectares) is reportedly a sufficient resource base for the existing animal population. However, the Mission has noticed overgrazing and agricultural erosion of spring transit pastures near to the growing areas9. Moreover, reportedly rotational grazing is not practised as in the past. On the other hand, high value feeds are totally missing, and fodder production has been drastically reduced during the last ten years. At present, the area cultivated under fodder crops is 40 percent of that in 1991, accounting for about 10-15 percent of what was produced in 1991. Fodder production has declined due to land diversion in line with a general agricultural decline in recent years due to the structural problems relating to inputs and irrigation.

Livestock has declined mainly due to civil conflict, the reduced capacity of households to access pastures and fodder and the overall disruption of the state/collective sector. At present the restocking process is performing well in numerical terms but genotype maintenance and breeding improvement are no longer practiced. Access to veterinary services and protection against diseases are also problematic for the private sector. Many private customers cannot access the veterinarian services either because they are not available or because they are too expensive.

No deaths of livestock resulting from drought have been reported. However, as a result of the disruption of the veterinary service, some diseases have started to become endemic such as Brucellosis, TBC and in certain parts of the country, F&M disease and Anthrax.

Table 4 - Tajikistan: Livestock (`000 heads) by Type

Type
Total
Private ownership
Collective/State Ownership
Percent of total
Private
Collective/State
1991
1999
2000
2000/
1991
1991
1999
2000
2000/
1991
1991
1999
2000
2000/
1991
1991
2000
1991
2000
Cattle
1352
1037
1061
78%
814
877
907
111%
538
160
154
29%
60
85
40
15
Sheep and goats
3292
2196
2210
67%
1647
1534
1565
95%
1645
662
645
39%
50
71
50
29
All types
4644
3233
3271
70%
2461
2411
2472
100%
2183
822
799
37%
53
76
47
24

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4. SITUATION BY REGION

4.1 Khatlon Oblast (Province)

Khatlon accounts for about 34 percent (2.15 million) of the country's total population. The area under food crops in Khatlon is the largest among the four regions. In 2001, this province planted 165 000 hectares to wheat (or 56 percent of the total area under wheat in the country).

Khatlon constitutes the southwest region of the country and mostly consists of lowland areas. It has very hot summers and cold winters, and depends largely on irrigation for agricultural production. But the province's irrigation systems are generally in poor condition due to pump breakdown, silted or breached canals and problems relating to electricity supply. Soils in many parts of the province are relatively poor in organic matter. Salinity of topsoil is also a problem in this province.

The Mission visited several severely drought affected districts and observed its devastating effects on crops and, hence, on the livelihoods of the people. The rainfed wheat crop has failed in many areas. Irrigated wheat production has been most affected this year due to 16 percent decrease in cultivated area, part of which was allocated to cotton crop. The average wheat yield in this province is estimated at 720 kg/ha and is the lowest compared to other regions. The overall area planted to wheat is down by about 10 percent compared to 2000.

4.2 Leninabad Oblast

This northern province contains about 30 percent of the country's population. In 2001, the area under wheat in the province accounted for about 22 percent of the total area under wheat in the country. This province is economically better off compared to other regions as more industries exist here than elsewhere. But many industries are now in decline, due to problems relating to management and the loss of markets.

Considering all factors that affected both rainfed and irrigated wheat, the Mission estimates an average yield of 950 kg/ha for the province as a whole.

4.3 Regions under Republican Subordination (RRS)

RRS is in the central part of the country. This region, including Dushanbe City, accounts for 31 percent of the total population. The estimated area planted to wheat in this region was down by about 2 percent compared to 2000 and average yield is estimated at 880 kg/ha.

4.4 Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO)

The eastern province of GBAO is mountainous, where the Pamirs reach a peak of 7 400 meters. Only a small part of this region is arable and that too is mostly terraces. It is not a very populated region, accounting for only about 3 percent of the country's population. Its cereal production is also small. This year, farmers expected that shortages of water for the wheat crop would have recurred and accordingly, the irrigated wheat area decreased by some 20 percent. Nevertheless, total wheat area though did not fall, as more was grown under rainfed conditions. The limited water resources were used to some extent to grow more profitable vegetable crops. For 2001 the production of wheat is estimated to be 17 percent lower compared to the previous year.

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5. CEREAL SUPPLY/DEMAND ANALYSIS, 2001/2002

The cereal balance for 2001/02 (Table 5) is based on an estimated population of 6.34 million10 and the following assumptions:

Table 5 - Tajikistan: Cereal Balance Sheet, 2001-2002 ('000 tonnes)

 
Wheat
Rice (milled)
Maize
Barley
Total
Domestic availability
233
17
27
18
295
Stock drawdown
         
Domestic production
233
17
27
18
295
Total utilisation
1017
17
27
18
1079
Food use (required)
926
15
12
11
964
Seed (provision)
60
1
1
6
68
Losses and feed use
31
1
14
1
47
Stock build up
         
Import Requirements
784
     
784
Anticipated commercial imports
400
     
400
Food aid (pledged)
43
     
43
Uncovered deficit
341
     
341
Note: paddy has been converted to rice at a conversion rate of 67 percent

The total cereal import requirement in 2001/02 is estimated at a 784 000 tonnes (77 percent of the total requirement). Assuming that the commercial imports of 400 000 tonnes materialise and given a WFP food aid pledge of 43 000 tonnes wheat equivalent, the estimated uncovered food supply gap in 2001/02 is 341 000 tonnes of wheat equivalent. A gap of this magnitude can have dire consequences particularly for those segments of the population who live in remote rainfed areas. People in these areas have exhausted there coping capacities during the last year. This year's lack of rainfall has further exacerbated the situation by almost completely destroying their grain production as well as household garden production. With little or no other income generating possibilities, these people are extremely vulnerable and in need of assistance. The overall emergency food aid requirement for the critically affected people is estimated at about 90 500 tonnes which may constitute the emergency food aid component, while the rest would need to be covered by programme food aid.

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6. FOOD ASSISTANCE REQUIREMENTS

The Government Policy and Actions

Since the mid 1990s, the Government of Tajikistan has been reforming the agricultural systems to allow private farming and enable households to increase food production.11 In response to the drought of 2000, the Government encouraged its citizens to grow maize as the second crop. This enabled households with land under irrigation to increase production for household level consumption. No other significant steps were taken by the Government to mitigate the effects of the drought.

Currently, the Government finds it difficult to pay social protection benefits for the vulnerable population groups from the two existing types of safety schemes, the cash compensation programmes targeted to the poor and pension for the elderly. Due to government budgetary constraints, many people are not paid welfare benefits regularly. Moreover, the pensions themselves are very low and many pensioners are not able to live of them. The two-year drought has increased the number of vulnerable people requiring assistance under the social welfare program. Consequently, the Government has appealed for international donor assistance to mitigate the effects of the drought.

6.2 The World Food Programme Assistance

The World Food Programme has been providing food assistance to Tajikistan since 1993. Until 1999, WFP provided assistance, through emergency operations (EMOPs), to victims of the civil war including pensioners, widowed households, invalids and people in institutions In 1996, a number of food-for-work activities were initiated including the land lease programme which helped the most food insecure households to have access to land for household food production. WFP has helped rehabilitate close to 10 000 hectares of land through its food for work activities. Since July 1999, WFP began implementing Protracted Relief Recovery Operation (PRRO) with the aim to distribute about 50 000 tonnes to 370 000 beneficiaries through the following activities: vulnerable group feeding, land lease programme, food for work, health and nutrition, income-generating activities and school feeding.

In response to the drought of 2000, WFP launched an emergency operation (EMOP) for 1.16 million people for an initial period of nine months, October 2000 to June 2001. This was recently extended by six months until December 2001. The EMOP is providing food assistance through two components: a) vulnerable group feeding of 910 000 people and b) the food for asset rehabilitation for 250 000 beneficiaries.

Until June 2001, WFP distributed 39 170 tonnes of flour 2 050 tonnes of vegetable oil and 1 200 tonnes of pulses and 700 tonnes of salt. There are confirmed contributions of about 33 000 tonnes of wheat flour and 1 500 tonnes of vegetable oil and 700 tonnes of salt. The EMOP, however, remains seriously under resourced with a shortfall of 35 percent of wheat flour, 32 percent of oil and 87 percent of pulses.

6.3 Household Coping Mechanisms

The second successive year of reduced harvest has seriously affected households' ability to meet their consumption needs. Various coping strategies are being exhausted, against a setting of high levels of malnutrition and anemia, making it even more compelling to appeal for continued international assistance to the affected people of Tajikistan.

Sources of livelihood

About three-fourths of the Tajikistan population lives in the rural areas and the major economic activity is agriculture. Very few income opportunities outside agriculture exists for rural households. The private sector is small and primarily provides employment in retail trade, restaurants and construction while the Government is the largest employer. The major source of livelihood for rural households is working for the sovkhozes and kolkhozes or by membership to dehkan farms. The salary paid on kolkhozes/sovkhozes depends upon the performance of the individual farms. Many farms are in severe debt and have been unable to pay their workers a regular cash income for several years. Instead, workers receive negligible payment-in-kind. Some households have access to land on which they grow crops for household consumption. Others have only been able to gather wood (from the cotton plants remaining after harvesting) for heating during winter or for sale. Households have therefore continued to work even without receiving a salary for fear of losing access to lands they cultivate. In Khatlon, one of the 4 best performing kolkhoz paid 32 Somoni per month and about 200 kg of wheat flour and 20 kg of meat per year depending on the size of the family. This relatively high salary is the exception rather than the norm. The average salary for the agricultural worker has dropped sharply in comparison to salaries nationwide. In 1995, salaries of agricultural workers were about 88 percent of the national salary. In 2000, they were less than half (45 percent) of the national salaries.

Many households including those working in Government and industries undertake agricultural activities to supplement their low incomes. Traditionally, households have about 0.1-0.15 ha of land around the house on which crops are grown. About 84 percent of all households have access to a kitchen garden, on which they grow food crops, including vegetables and fruits for household consumption. These kitchen gardens, especially the irrigated lands are used intensively, with two or three crops grown in a year. Crops produced on the kitchen gardens have been a major source of food for rural households. In a normal year, production from these kitchen garden accounts for about 50-75 percent of food needs. The continuation of the drought this year and the shortage of irrigation water has severely endangered this most important and reliable coping mechanism of the household. The failure of crops is a loss of food for direct household consumption. It also means that households will have to look for alternative sources of income outside agriculture (which are very limited) to offset their losses in food production. The worst affected households are those growing crops on unirrigated land and who have been unable to grow even vegetables this year.

Even before the crop failure of 2000, households were facing severe food insecurity. Many were already undertaking a variety of coping mechanisms to deal with losses in employment and declining incomes. Some of the major coping mechanisms have included brick-making, tailoring, crafts, fruit sales, and petty trading. Households growing oilseeds such as sesame appeared better off than those growing cereal crops. The returns from oil crops were higher than those from cereals enabling households to meet their food and non-food needs. Households engaged in extra income earning activities outside agriculture were better off than households that were entirely dependent on kolkhoz work or crop production. It is estimated that some six percent of households have some relatives who remit money. Although remittances have played an important role to fill the gap in food production, households depending on remittances as a primary source of income are quite vulnerable to food insecurity. The remittances are not regular and households have no idea when their next income would arrive.

Households near the border of Kyrgyzstan engaged in cross-border trade. Others cultivated land across the border and sold their produce in Kyrgyzstan. However, households near Uzbekistan were worse off as there was very little household level cross border trade. Poorest households were found in the outlying districts near the border of Uzbekistan. In these areas, households were unable to market their craft (e.g. carpets) as the distance to an urban centre was far.

Over the years, many households have depleted their assets while trying to compensate the loss of declining incomes. A study conducted by the Food Economy Assessment Group on behalf of WFP in 2001 reported that desperate households when faced with huge financial burden have gone as far as dismantling part of their homes, selling tiles and roofs to meet their extra financial burden.

The Mission also interviewed households receiving food assistance from WFP and other NGOs that helped fill the food gap during 2000. Having exhausted their coping mechanisms, many households are unsure how they will meet the shortfall in food supply this year. Moreover, there is not much evidence of any new coping mechanisms to mitigate the effects of the drought, on the part of the households or government.

Changes in dietary patterns

The World Bank poverty assessment of 1999 found significant dietary changes taking place prior to the drought. On average, household members were consuming 1800 calories compared to the requirement of 2 200 calories. By 1999, some 85 percent of households had already changed their food consumption pattern and were eating cheaper foods. About 44 percent of households had reduced the number of meals and 30 percent were consuming smaller portions. Even among the better-off households, one in three had reduced the number of meals and another one-third were eating smaller portions. Other coping strategies included selling of assets (28 percent of households) and borrowing (34 percent households).

Over the years there has been a drastic decline in the dietary intake of major food components, primarily nutrient dense foods. Nationally, annual per capita consumption of meat has dropped from 27.8 kg in 1972 to 4.9 kg in 1997. Milk consumption has declined from 172 kg in 1992 to 46.7 kg in 1997 while egg consumption during the period declined from 99 to 6. The only foods that have remained stable are potatoes. Even bread consumption has declined. The declining trend in consumption of key food items is a major nutrition concern especially for children and women.

Nutritional status

During the last four years, three nutritional surveys have been conducted and all have found high rates of chronic malnutrition in children of less than five years of age. The most recent nutrition survey of September 2000 conducted by the Action Against Hunger in collaboration with German Agro Action, IFRC, Mission Ost and WFP found 39 percent of children to be chronically malnourished. Compared to the survey of 1999, chronic malnutrition levels have not increased but have remained persistently high at around 40 percent. Chronic malnutrition is highest in the mountainous areas were rates are estimated at 46 percent, followed by GBAO with rates of 41 percent. The plains and valleys have rates of 40 percent. The cities have the lowest levels of malnutrition of 24 percent, followed by peri-urban areas with 30 percent. Other data have shown very high rates of anemia; 40 percent of the adult population, 60 percent of childbearing women and 62 percent of teenage girls are anemic. These high levels of anemia are a major nutrition concern in the face of an unfavourable climatic pattern, as the level of food consumption is already low. This year's food deficit will further reduce the consumption of nutrient dense foods and hence make the already bad situation even worse. In a normal situation, levels of malnutrition are not expected to be higher than 2-3 percent.

The high level of anemia increases maternal mortality risk for child bearing aged women and child mortality risk. It is acknowledged that problems of nutrition are not only due to food insecurity but also to the health environment of the households. Inadequate access to clean and safe water and sanitation for many households contributes to the poor child nutritional status in Tajikistan. In many areas, the Mission found households drinking unclean water directly from the canals in which livestock, dogs and humans dip themselves for cooling. This poor health environment works to aggravate the already marginal nutrition status especially of children whose nutrient demands in normal situation is quite high. Hence, the health environmental issues, particularly water and sanitation need to be addressed to ensure improved nutrition status.

Gender aspects

As a result of the civil war that erupted shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union, many women found themselves widowed or separated from husbands because men were killed or fled into exile. UNDP estimates a total of 25 000 widowed women, each with an average of five children accounting for 55 000 orphaned children. The collapse of the social protection and now the two consecutive drought seasons has further increased the economic burden on women. Women have disproportionately high rates of unemployment and their incomes are four times lower than those of men. With the increase of unemployment, many women have been made to feel guilty for working and not staying at home. Many of them especially the widows, have taken recourse to begging, along with their children while others have been forced accept to being carriers of drugs for lack of alternative sources of income.12

6.4 Estimated Caseload and Emergency Food Aid Requirements in 2000/01

The Mission identified the upland or mountain areas and remote border areas of Tajikistan especially near to the Uzbekistan border to be the worst affected. Fine targeting will be needed for an effective programme that reaches the most food insecure groups. However, its is worth noting that poverty is very pervasive in Tajikistan, making it difficult to separate the effects of drought from poverty.

The worst affected groups include households that depend wholly or primarily upon rainfall and have little or no access to irrigation facilities. Those households have lost almost their entire crop. Households that have no cow or livestock have little alternative incomes to fall back on. In addition, female headed households especially with young children are also among the worst affected.

The Mission estimates that 1.04 million people are in need of assistance from October 2001 to June 2002 when the next harvest is expected. This estimate is based upon the following criteria:

Table 6 below shows the number of people requiring assistance by region and the total amount of food required from October 2001 to June 2002. Part of this requirement is reflected under the requirement of the current EMOP, which has been extended from June 2001 through to December 2001.

The amount of food assistance that would be required from January to June 2002 is therefore 37 214 tonnes of wheat flour, and 5 875 tonnes of wheat soya blend, 7 051 tonnes of pulses and 4 700 tonnes of oil.

However, as mentioned earlier, the current operation has a 40 percent shortfall in terms of resoucing. Donors would have to make up the existing shortfall and provide support for the new additional requirement (January-June 2002) if the emergency food aid requirement is to be met.

Table 6 - Tajikistan: Number of People Critically in Need of Food Assistance and Quantity of Wheat and other Food Items Required (2001/2002)

Regions
Rural population mid 2001
Number of people
severely affected
enquiring assistance
for 9 months
Number of people moderately affected requiring assistance for six months
Total targeted population
Wheat Flour requirement
(tonnes)
WSB/CSB
( tonnes)
Pulses (tonnes)
Oil
(tonnes)
GBAO
178 500
35,700
17 850
53 550
3 856
320
386
386
Leninabad
1 618 636
169 688
161 854
331 541
22 485
1 874
2 248
2 248
Khatlon
2 030 004
220 463
203 000
423 463
28 820
2 402
2 882
2 882
RRS
1 141 278
113 390
114 128
227 519
15 348
1 279
1 535
1 535
Tajikistan
4 968 418
539 241
496 832
1 036 073
70 509
5 875
7 051
7 051

6.5 Nutrition Considerations

The Mission recommends targeted food assistance to be provided for about 1 036 000 people (539 000 people for nine months and 497 000 people for six months) consisting of 300g of wheat flour, 30 g of pulse and 30 g of vitamin A fortified oil per day. This will provide about 1 400 Kcalories per day or 67 percent of the daily energy requirements. A partial ration is recommended to prevent total dependence on food aid. Moreover, households will need additional food items, such as vegetables and dairy products, to ensure an adequate diet. Food aid is expected to free up the limited household income to enable the purchasing of additional food items that are currently missing from the diet. It is further recommended that 100 g of fortified wheat soya blend be provided to targeted 25 percent of households with children of less than five years of age and pregnant women to prevent further deterioration of an already poor nutritional status of women and children.

This report is prepared on the responsibility of the FAO and WFP Secretariats with information from official and unofficial sources. Since conditions may change rapidly, please contact the undersigned for further information if required.
Abdur Rashid
Chief, GIEWS FAO, Rome
Fax: 0039-06-5705-4495
E-mail: GIEWS1@FAO.ORG
Khaled Adly
Regional Director, OMN, WFP, Cairo
Fax: 0020-2-7547614
E-Mail: Khaled.Adly@WFP.ORG
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1 This section is based on information from several sources including: Republic of Tajikistan: Poverty Assessment; World Bank 2000. Tajikistan - Towards Accelerated Economic Growth. A country Economic Memorandum, World Bank 2001. Republic of Tajikistan Statistical Appendix IMF 2000. Tajikistan - Human Development Report, UNDP 2000.

2 US$1=2.55 Somoni in the open markets during the Mission in June 2001.

3 Between 1995 and 1998, the Government released 75 000 ha of presidential land to increase land ownership by private citizens for household crop production. On average, a household received 0.15 ha of irrigated land or 0.5 ha of unirrigated land.

4 Official data for the last ten years indicate that area cultivated to cereals has progressively increased from some 215 000 hectares in 1991 to about 410 000 hectares in 2000.

5 Tajik farmers apply a high wheat seed rate of 200-230 kg per hectare in irrigated conditions and a rate of 180 kg per hectare in rainfed cultivation. This is due to the low tillering rate (3 in average) of prevailing genotypes in use and the need to establish an effective plant population.

6 As in the past, quality seed multiplication is still a mandate of specialised Sovkozes (var.: Navruz and Sharora). Nevertheless, seed multiplication activities have seldom met the total needs and certified seed imports from Russia (var.: Omskaya-1), Uzbekistan (Ulugbek) and Kyrghystan (Kyrgyz-100) as well as from Kazakhstan (Bogarnaya-56, Bezostaya-1, Steklovidnaya-24) have always been practiced. Recently, Uzbekistan and Kyrgystan faced domestic shortages of seed and have thus banned exports. NGOs have imported certified seeds from Turkey (Atay-85 and Sultan-95) others from USA (Jagar) which had proved in the past to perform. The Mission visited three seed multiplication farms in Khatlon and Leninabad and none of them were actually producing seed.

7 Reportedly, the ploughing cost for 1 hectare is equal to 50 kg of wheat, 40 lt of diesel fuel and 1kg of lubricant oil.

8 Until 1992, the irrigation infrastructure was kept in relatively good order through adequate provision of central funding. Resources have since then progressively and drastically declined and are reportedly less than 10 percent of actual requirements. Water charges have been introduced in 1996 but, apart from being equal to less than 20 percent of calculated costs, an efficient collecting system is not in place and repayment rates are very low (only some 15 percent of fees are paid by farmers).

9 The allocation of former pastureland in Khatlon-Kylob area has been apparently promoted by local authorities who seek for land to be distributed to individual/family dehkan farmers.

10 Population has been projected to June 2002 based on a 2 percent growth rate of last year's estimation.

11 According to the WB's Tajikistan Poverty Assessment Report the Presidential Land Reform Programme has had a significant positive impact on the livelihood of the beneficiaries. It was meant also to increase food production equivalent to 200-400 kg of wheat subject to favourable climatic conditions.

12 The International Crisis Group estimates that up to 25 percent of drugs from Afghanistan are transported through Tajikistan primarily through GBAO.