GIEWS Country Briefs

Afghanistan PDF version Archives    Email this article Print this article Subscribe FAO GIEWS RSS  Share this article  

Reference Date: 15-July-2016


  1. Despite dry spell in autumn, slightly below average cereal crop harvested in 2016

  2. Cereal import requirements in 2016/17 forecast at levels similar to 2015/16

  3. Inflation increasing owing to currency depreciation

Despite dry spell in autumn, slightly below average cereal crop harvested in 2016

Harvesting of the 2016 winter grains, mainly wheat, concluded in June. Final production estimates from the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) indicate that 4.55 million tonnes of wheat were harvested, only slightly below last year’s harvest and the five‑year average. Some 3.7 million tonnes were produced under irrigated conditions and 830 000 tonnes from rainfed areas. While total wheat cultivated area increased by 9.5 percent compared to the previous year to 2.3 million hectares, pests and wheat rust decreased the average yield to 1.98 tonnes per hectare, down 8 percent on last year.

Planting across the country was mostly completed in November 2015 although in some parts of Nimroz, Hirat and Baghlan provinces it continued until December because of an extended dry spell which followed an early onset of the wet season. Unlike in the 2014/15 winter, snow accumulation was closer to a long‑term average, although some provinces report below average cumulative precipitation. Snow runoffs from the mountains normally provide over 80 percent of the irrigation water.

Late and well‑distributed spring rains benefited crops but also contributed to favourable pasture conditions.

Improved seed availability, through private companies together with the provision of subsidized improved seeds to farmers by the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL), assisted crop productivity. Nevertheless, the bulk of the farmers still relied on their own farm‑saved seeds. Households with low purchasing power in some areas are eligible for subsidies for improved seeds.

Elsewhere in the sector, the 2015 Opium Survey in Afghanistan revealed that in 2015 the total area under opium poppy cultivation (183 000 hectares) decreased by 19 percent compared to the previous year, whereas potential opium production was estimated at 3 300 tonnes, a decrease of 48 percent from its 2014 level (6 400 tonnes).

Wheat import requirements in 2016/17 similar to previous year

Cereal import requirements (mainly wheat) in the current 2016/17 marketing year (July/June) are forecast at 2.3 million tonnes, about the same as in the previous year and slightly above the five‑year average. Even in years with above‑average domestic production, Afghanistan imports wheat flour, reflecting lack of adequate domestic milling capacity and problems of cost effectiveness. The dominant suppliers of wheat flour are Kazakhstan and Pakistan. Imported wheat and wheat flour are often blended with domestic wheat to improve its protein content.

Wheat prices up, but levels of inflation easing

Despite a series of well above‑average harvests gathered since 2012, wheat and wheat flour prices in some provinces have been increasing since June 2012 compared to their pre‑2012 levels. In the last six months to June 2016, wheat grain and wheat flour prices in Kabul and Kandahar remained stable but between 9 percent (in the case of wheat flour) to 30 percent (in the case of wheat grain) above their levels one year ago. Large regional price differences persist: wheat grain is over 35 percent more expensive in Kandahar than in Herat.

Inflation rates have increased due mainly to raising import costs caused by continuing depreciation of the Afghani against the US dollar, although lower global goods and energy prices are mitigating the impact. In June 2016, the CPI in Kabul was close to 6.4 percent relative to the same period last year. The food component of the CPI increased by 6.3 percent, while the non‑food component increased by 6.5 percent.

Stable food security situation overall, but concern remains in some areas for low-income and displaced people

The overall food security situation has generally been stable owing to the above-average harvest in the past years. However, fighting between the Government and insurgent forces resulted in further displacement.

According to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) from September 2015, six provinces are classified in Phase 2 “Stressed” and 12 in Phase 3 “Crisis”. Out of 12 provinces in Phase 3, three provinces Badhakshan, Kunduz and Paktika have 10 to 15 percent of the population in Phase 4 “Emergency”.

Relevant links:
 As of Jun 2016, included in the list of "Countries Requiring External Assistance for Food"
 Food Price Data and Analysis Tool
 Earth Observation Indicators
 Seasonal Indicators
 Vegetation Indicators
 Precipitation Indicators
 Graphs & Data
 NDVI & Precipitation
 Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission (CFSAM) Reports & Special Alerts: 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2001, 2001, 2000, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997
From FAO:
 FAO Country Profiles

Email this article Print     Subscribe FAO GIEWS RSS Subscribe GIEWS RSS Share this article  Share it

GIEWS   global information and early warning system on food and agriculture