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Reference Date: 03-June-2014


  1. Above-average wheat harvest forecast in 2014

  2. Wheat import requirements forecast at below-average levels in 2013/14

  3. Inflation rates ease

  4. Food security situation improves, but vulnerable groups in parts are still a concern

Harvesting of the winter wheat, planted in November/December 2013, is currently underway in the southern and eastern provinces. Elsewhere in the country harvest will start in August/September. On average, Afghanistan harvests wheat from about 2.5 million hectares and about 90 percent of the wheat crop is planted in the autumn and about 80 percent of the crop is rainfed. Remotely-sensed information indicates a satisfactory growing season.

Above-average wheat harvest forecast in 2014

An above-average wheat harvest of 5.1 million tonnes is forecast to be collected in 2014, about the same as the 2013 harvest which was one of the highest on record for the last 35 years. The aboveaverage harvest in 2014 is attributed to favourable weather and moisture conditions with better snow accumulation in winter.

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. Domestic seed industry production in 2013 increased by 33 percent compared to 2012. Nevertheless, the majority of farmers still rely on their own farm-saved seeds. Households with low purchasing power in northern Afghanistan are eligible for subsidies for improved seeds.

The Government aims to establish strategic grain reserves to be used in emergencies and stabilize prices. In addition to purchases from the farmers, the Government of India has donated wheat to the reserves.

Elsewhere, the Afghanistan Opium Risk Assessment 2013 found that the poppy cultivated area in 2013 has increased across Afghanistan for the third year in a row, following high opium prices coupled with insecurity. Opium cultivation increased in 12 of the country’s 34 provinces.

Wheat import requirements put at below-average levels in 2013/14

Cereal import requirements (mainly wheat) in the current 2013/14 marketing year (July/June) are forecast at 1.4 million tonnes, about the same as last year, but 30 percent less than 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.

High levels of inflation persist

Despite a bumper harvest in 2012, 2013 and 2014, wheat and wheat flour prices in some provinces have been increasing since June 2012 compared to their pre-2012 levels. In April 2014 wheat and flour prices in Kabul were at AFN 28/kg and AFN 29/kg, both about 3 percent higher than the previous month. Although wheat prices in Kabul strengthened by 27 percent compared to a year earlier, wheat flour price decreased by about 4 percent due to well‑supplied regional wheat flour markets in Kazakhstan and Pakistan. Continuous depreciation of the Afghanis over the last two years amplified the price increases in local currency.

Inflation rates have declined due mainly to easing energy costs. In May 2014, the CPI in Kabul was up 0.7 percent relative to the same period last year. The food component of the CPI increased by 7.1 percent, while the non-food component decreased by 3.8 percent. Compared to last year, bread and cereals recorded an increase of 7 percent, while the largest increase was recorded by vegetables (over 21 percent).

Stable food security situation overall, but concern remains in parts for low-income people

The overall food security situation has generally been stable owing to the above-average harvest in 2012-2014. However, food security concerns remain in some areas, particularly in the west-central highlands where a below-average rainfed harvest was collected. Poor households rely on external humanitarian assistance. The WFP emergency food assistance which reached over 900 000 beneficiaries in 2013 was replaced by Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation from 1 January 2014 to 31 December 2016. The operation is expected to reach 3.7 million beneficiaries.

Relevant links:
 As of Jul 2014, 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

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