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Agriculture and Food Security

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Agriculture and Food Security
USAID helps farmers boost their income and improve their families’ livelihoods by improving farming practices and expanding agricultural production in southwestern Tajikistan.
Feed the Future Tajikistan Agriculture and Water Activity
In Tajikistan, nearly half the population lives in poverty. A disproportionate percentage of women are undernourished and more than 30 percent of children younger than five years old suffer from stunting. Through Feed the Future, America’s global hunger and poverty initiative, USAID helps farmers increase their production of profitable, nutritious crops while teaching families about proper nutrition. As a result of USAID assistance, thousands of farmers have achieved secure access to land and water for the first time in decades, and 60 water user associations now provide improved irrigation to over 100,000 farmers. To optimize infant growth and development, USAID programs have increased breastfeeding rates from 37 percent to 85 percent in target areas.

Tajikistan suffers from chronic food insecurity, particularly among children younger than five years old. While agriculture accounts for 53 percent of total employment and about a quarter of the country’s total GDP, only about seven percent of Tajikistan’s land surface is arable. Approximately 70 percent of the population lives in rural areas where seasonal agricultural labor on cotton farms is often the only paid work available.

The Feed the Future strategy for reducing hunger and poverty in Tajikistan is geographically focused in Khatlon, the country’s southwestern province that shares a border with Afghanistan. Khatlon is a key region for agricultural production, and it also has the highest rates of undernutrition and the largest number of people living below the poverty line in the country. Khatlon’s irrigated lands, which have been dominated by cotton   production since the Soviet era, are promising places to demonstrate the effects of water and land reform and the economic and health benefits of producing higher value, nutritious fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. Over 200,000 vulnerable Tajik citizens—mostly smallholder farmers and their families—will receive targeted assistance to escape hunger and poverty, and significant numbers of other groups will improve both their income and nutritional status through USAID programs’ strategic policy engagement and institutional reforms.

Commitments to agricultural growth and health improvements will raise incomes for the poor, increase food availability, and reduce undernutrition. The resulting improvements in food security in Tajikistan are also expected to increase social cohesion, strengthen state institutions, and ultimately support regional stability and security.


  • Feed the Future and its partners supported new seedling technology that helped farmers, most of whom are women, produce more than 1.5 million seedlings of improved tomato, cucumber, and sweet pepper varieties, which in turn produced more than 20,000 metric tons of nutritious produce.
  • As part of land reform, Feed the Future supported modernization of 12 regional land registration offices to introduce “one-stop-shop” models that simplify registration procedures, reducing the time it takes to register property by 50 percent, to an average of three to four days.
  • Feed the Future supported the establishment of 12 legal aid centers that provide legal services on land use rights to farmers. In addition, the project updated and published the textbook “Land Law of Tajikistan” that has been distributed to universities nationwide.
  • Feed the Future provided policy support to the Tajik government’s new law on small-scale farms that provides greater security for farmers, strengthens property rights, and allows small farms to incorporate as legal entities recognized under the Civil Code.
  • Feed the Future worked with local entrepreneurs to develop 20 cold storage, canning, juicing, and animal feed processing facilities, leveraging $1.5 million in private sector investment.
  • As part of a continued effort to improve crops in Tajikistan, Feed the Future activities are currently scaling up the production of over 40 improved orchard crop varieties and four high yielding strawberry varieties, all of which were imported from the United States.
  • More than 211,000 people, including pregnant women and mothers of young children, benefit from comprehensive maternal and child health and nutrition education each year.
  • USAID revised and printed 60,000 booklets to promote health and nutrition for mothers and children during the critical “first 1000 days of life” period.
  • USAID and the World Food Programme began a pilot program to prevent and treat moderate acute malnutrition in children younger than five years at the community level, creating the first system for tracking recurring cases of malnutrition in clinics.