The Republic of Tajikistan
Current issues and what the World Food Programme is doing
Tajikistan is a lower-middle-income, food-deficit country of approximately eight million people, three-quarters of whom live in rural areas. The latest Tajikistan National Health Survey of 2012 showed 10 percent of children aged under five years are affected by acute malnutrition (wasting) and 26 percent suffer from chronic malnutrition (stunting). The latest Food Security Monitoring System (FSMS) showed that despite improvement in food security in recent years, only 24 percent of Tajikistan’s rural population is food secure, with the remaining 50 percent marginally food secure, 22 percent moderately insecure and 5 percent severely food insecure.
What are the current issues in Tajikistan?
Poverty and malnutrition
About 47 percent of the population lives on less than US$1.33 a day and 17 percent subsist on less than US$0.85 a day. Tajikistan ranks 129th out of 188 countries on the Human Development Index. The majority of the population spends between 70 and 80 percent of household income on food. Tajikistan has the highest malnutrition rate among the former Soviet republics, according to the findings of the 2015 Global Hunger Index (GHI). It also showed that 33.2 percent of Tajikistan’s population is undernourished. An estimated 11 percent of the population (about 660,000 people) needs food assistance, according to an April 2015 Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis.
Recurrent natural disasters in Tajikistan are exposing low-income households in rural communities to chronic food insecurity. Vast swaths of agricultural land are being affected by wide-spread deforestation, soil erosion and droughts. Climate change is increasing overall temperatures, frequency of extreme droughts and floods, and erratic rainfall. It is also decreasing water availability for agriculture. As a result, climate change is exacerbating the impact of these natural disasters on food security and livelihoods.
What is the World Food Programme doing in Tajikistan?
WFP has been present in Tajikistan since 1993, when it launched an emergency operation to provide life-saving assistance during the Civil War. WFP’s strategy has shifted from crisis assistance in Tajikistan to increasingly focusing on three longer-term objectives: (i) Policy advocacy with the Government and partners to ensure food security and nutrition are prioritized in national strategies, policies and programmes; (ii) Support to the Government and partners to enhance their capacity to implement and monitor sustainable hunger solutions, through social safety nets for the most vulnerable and (iii) Direct support to communities to respond to crises and to improve their longer-term food security and resilience to shocks.
WFP’s priorities include long-term development, resilience and capacity building of local institutions.
WFP’s School Meals Programme has increased enrolment and attendance rates since 1999 and currently complements government social safety nets by providing daily school meals to over 370,000 schoolchildren in more than 2,000 schools (over 60 percent of the total schools) in rural areas.
Food for Assets
Food for Assets (FFA) is one of WFP’s key programmes and provides food assistance to the most vulnerable communities in Tajikistan. Food, vouchers or cash transfers are used as an incentive for work on community assets such as irrigation systems, soil conservation and regeneration, drinking water supplies or construction of bridges. FFA activities can produce immediate results in terms of food security and nutrition. At the same time, these projects help build household and community assets that reduce exposure to and impact of shocks, strengthen resilience to natural disasters, and contribute to sustainable livelihoods while ensuring environmental benefits. WFP’s priority is to ensure that assistance is prioritized for the poorest and most food insecure households. /p>
Disaster-risk reduction and climate-change adaptation
Disaster-risk reduction (DRR) and climate-change adaptation (CCA) have therefore become increasingly important components of efforts to build community and household resilience to these shocks. WFP’s FFA is a practical programme to address these issues through building community infrastructure. It also supports natural-resource management through training and restoration of agricultural and rural infrastructure. Through FFA, the poorest and most vulnerable segments of the population receive food or cash incentives for contributing to community-wide projects.
WFP, in coordination with the Tajikistan’s Ministry of Health and Social Protection, assists local health centers and parents to combat acute malnutrition. WFP’s nutrition activities contribute to the development and well-being of thousands of children every year. The programme is implemented in close cooperation with the United National Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Disparities between rural and urban areas are significant. WFP targets acutely malnourished children, mostly from poor households, in the rural areas. WFP assists 88 health care centers in the districts of Shaartuz and Kulyob to treat moderate acute malnutrition. Every year more than 5,000 children are enrolled in the health center’s nutrition programmes and receive support from WFP.
WFP nutrition activities are not only effective in the treatment of acute malnutrition but also have a positive impact on attendance at the health centers, vaccination, antenatal care and growth monitoring.
Support to tuberculosis patients and their families
WFP has been providing life-saving food assistance to tuberculosis (TB) patients and their families since 2003, when it began a partnership with the NGO Project Hope to help 1,000 patients in and around Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe. The success of WFP’s assistance to the TB clinics treatment programme has led to the extension of the programme to all enrolled TB patients in Tajikistan.
In 2015, WFP provided food assistance to 25,405 beneficiaries including TB patients and their families. TB is a disease of poverty, and the burden of illness and death is experienced in Tajikistan’s food-insecure rural areas where households of TB patients are amongst the most destitute. TB patients are often the fathers, sons and brothers belonging to poor families who migrate to Russia or Kazakhstan to work and often live in substandard conditions where it is easy to contract TB.
World Food Programme partners in Tajikistan
WFP cannot fight global hunger and poverty alone. These are our partners in Tajikistan:
- Tajikistan Ministry of Health and Social Protection
- Tajikistan Ministry of Trade and Economic Development
- Tajikistan Ministry of Finance
- Tajikistan Ministry of Labour
- Tajikistan Ministry of Agriculture
- Tajikistan Ministry of Education
- Tajikistan’s National Tuberculosis Centre
- Social Industrial Food Services Institute (SIFI)
Want to know more about WFP partners? Visit WFP's Partnerships section.
Featured Tajikistan publications
A Country Brief provides the latest snapshot of the country strategy, operations, operational highlights (achievements and issues/challenges), partnerships and country background.
Looking for more publications on Tajikistan? Visit the Tajikistan publications archive.