Tajikistan to address food and nutrition insecurity with World Bank support

By World Bank

Tajikistan to address food and nutrition insecurity with World Bank support

The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved additional grant financing of $50 million from the Crisis Response window for the Strengthening Resilience of the Agriculture Sector Project in Tajikistan to support efforts of the Government of Tajikistan to mitigate food and nutrition insecurity impacts on households and enhance the overall resilience of the agriculture sector.

“The spillover effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, coupled with lingering adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, have increased the risks of food and nutrition insecurity in Tajikistan, especially threatening the health and wellbeing of the rural population, including young children,” said Ozan Sevimli, World Bank Country Manager to Tajikistan. “With these resources, Tajikistan will be able to address these risks by providing support to farmers, distribution of micronutrients and vitamin supplements to pregnant and lactating women and young children, as well as by supporting national food fortification efforts through the establishment of a premix revolving fund to be managed by the Government.”

According to the World Food Program, by the end of the year, 30 percent of the population in Tajikistan will be classified as moderately food-insecure—up from 20 percent in 2021—while those acutely affected by food insecurity could more than double to 8.6 percent of the population. Despite significant progress over the last decade, malnutrition among children and women continues to remain a major challenge for the country. With 18 percent of children under the age of five being stunted, Tajikistan has the highest rate of stunting in the Europe and Central Asia region.

As part of the additional financing, the project will support the procurement and distribution of emergency seeds, fertilizers, and small-scale machinery to vulnerable farmers, including women farmers; procurement and distribution of micronutrient and vitamin supplements for pregnant and lactating women and young children under the age of five, ready-to-use therapeutic food for children threatened by severe wasting; and a media communication campaign to improve infant and young child feeding practices and dissemination of critical nutrition messages.

The project is expected to benefit 345,000 vulnerable farmers, including women receiving emergency assistance with seeds, fertilizers, and small farm machinery; over 350,000 pregnant and lactating women and more than 1 million children under 5 receiving iron-folic acid supplements, and 10,000 children threatened by severe wasting receiving ready-to-use therapeutic food. In total, it is expected that over 1.4 million people will benefit from the project’s emergency interventions. The project will also finance the establishment of additional agri-logistical centers to improve the competitiveness of horticulture value chains and improve farmers’ access to markets. It will strengthen the national capacity for the prevention and management of future crises and food fortification, as well as support the government in revising the food security law and developing a food security crisis preparedness plan.

The original project approved in 2021 seeks to strengthen the foundation for a more resilient agriculture sector, which will in turn help to accelerate agricultural diversification, contribute to the development of a viable sector of private micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises in rural areas, and generate additional employment opportunities.

Currently, the World Bank is financing 22 projects in Tajikistan totaling $1.4 billion. Since 1996, the World Bank has provided over $2.5 billion in IDA grants, highly concessional credits, and trust funds for Tajikistan. The World Bank is committed to continuing its support as the country strives to improve lives and meet the aspirations of its young and growing population.