For Food and Nutrition Security, the UN and its partners work on the following objectives: to strengthen national institutions such that policy are robust and data-driven; promote higher levels of agricultural production and profitability; ensure that vulnerable households have the financial and physical resources required for their own food security; and improve food safety and quality, and dietary behaviours. UN supports the integration of principles of sustainable ecosystem and natural resources management in the major sectoral and territorial national and sub-national development planning.
Partners and Coordination: The main partners are the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA); Ministry of Finance (MoF); Ministry of Economic Development and Trade (MoEDT); the Committee of Environmental Protection (CoEP); the Committee of Emergency Situations (CoES); agriculture extension agencies; the Ministry of Health (MoH); Primary Health Care (PHC); large scale salt/flour/oil producers/processors/importers; and local authorities and Community Based Organisations (CBOs). The Food Security Cluster Group coordinates and monitors the activities under this UNDAF outcome, and liaises closely with the Governmental Food Security Working Group. With respect to improved seeds in particular, a Seed Aid Coordination Group was established under the leadership of the MoA. The work on seedlings takes place in the context of a joint agency project.
Challenges: The country is in the midst of a food crisis caused by rising international food prices against the background of a low-yield, unresponsive, and cotton-dominated agricultural sector. Given the impact this will have on health and nutrition status, and given that 66% of the workforce is employed in agriculture, this UN outcome has been identified to assist Tajikistan meet its MDGs related to poverty, health, and nutrition. As noted in the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper, development of the agricultural sector will provide reliable food supply through increases in agricultural output, higher incomes, and employment – all directly linked to MDG 1. The UNCT has a comparative advantage in this area, based on its technical expertise in the areas of food security, agriculture, and nutrition (for example, the past successes of UNCT in food fortification and its access to food resources). Other priority areas related to food and nutrition security, such as land use rights, sustainable irrigation systems, and cotton sector efficiency, will be addressed by other donors with the relevant expertise.
Results: Achievements in this regard are based on five results: development of effective food and nutrition policies and strategies; improved farmland productivity through new technologies; increased food security; consumption of nutritious and safe food; implementation of national systems to respond to food emergencies.
First, as noted in the PRSP, the development of effective policies and strategies, along with implementation mechanisms, plays a vital role in achieving the MDGs related to food and nutrition. The Government adopted the Food Security Programme (as developed by the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade for the period 2009-2015) and the UNCT assists in incorporating a strong nutrition component in this programme and ensures that an agricultural sector strategy is endorsed that incorporates food security issues. The development (and implementation) of strategy and policy must be based on an informed analysis of the nutritional, food security and agricultural situation. Therefore, the UNCT expects that by 2015, a formal food security and nutrition monitoring system will be in operation, integrating information on climatic conditions, agriculture, livestock, markets, food consumption, health, and nutrition. To ensure the information is generated and used, improved methodologies will be distributed to the relevant government agencies along with capacity development support.
Second, the UNCT expects that by 2015, farmers and especially small farm holders will be able to use more productive and profitable techniques and technologies, thereby ensuring a more reliable food supply in local markets.
Third, the UNCT anticipates that by 2015, more vulnerable households will have sufficient financial and physical access to food. This will be achieved through building the knowledge and skills of vulnerable households to diversify their agricultural production; supporting these households with efficiency-proven income generation activities; and developing micro-financing schemes at community level for small agricultural businesses. Emphasis will be placed on improving market access through involving households in fruit and nut sapling, fodder and other associated products.
Fourth, the UNCT expects that households will consume adequate levels of food that are safe and nutritious, and display positive dietary behaviours. One expected result is the universal household-level consumption of adequately iodised salt: the target is to have 40% of households consuming high- and first-grade flour and cotton oil, fortified with iron and vitamins. Some of the actions to be supported by UN agencies include: awareness building; improved legal education related to land reform and farm restructuring processes; provision of legal support services; and promoting economic rights. To achieve this, the UNCT will promote the use of fortified foods and other approaches to remedy micronutrient deficiencies; collaborate with the Ministry of Health to ensure that all children receive a regular supply of vitamin A; and develop capacities in schools, clinics and other public institutions to source and prepare safe food. The UNCT is also committed to provide the technical assistance, laboratory resources, and other necessary supplies to ensure that a national food safety system has been introduced by 2015.
Fifth, the UNCT supports the government and communities establish national systems to ensure that preparedness measures are in place to respond to food and nutrition security related aspects of emergencies.