A crash course in changing the world.
The outlook for food security situation in Tajikistan is rather bleak and has been for a while now. The UN classifies 54% of the total population as living in unfavorable
food security situation. Of this population
group, the WFP lists 9% to be in severe food insecurity, while another 22% to
be in moderate insecurity. Numerous studies evince that most of the population is
spending more than half their income on food (for the most vulnerable group
this number is around 80% of the income). And even then a significant majority
has not had a balanced diet for years (see previous blog post for details). Despite all the gloom, development agencies
term the current situation as stable and an improvement over the past.
Major factors that contribute to the current predicament include decreases in remittances due to global economic crisis, lack of employment opportunities, harvest failure, lack of drinking and irrigation water, and
human and animal diseases. Results from
a panel survey conducted by the WFP in Fall 2009, show that most of the shocks
affecting the population at risk are chronic and multi-faceted. Respondents
listed: (i) high food prices (due to higher transport costs) combined with
reduced earnings, (ii) water issues and (iii) poor health. The study further
noted that new debts of households are on the increase as they are borrowing
more and more to see them through the current predicament
Key initiatives underway to include: (i) increasing food availability and access (ii) improving water quality; (iii) Disaster risk reduction; (iv) creating new employment opportunities; and (v) women
empowerment. However, the most
innovative solution that stands out above the rest is the use of technology to
better respond to the needs on the ground.