Tajikistan is a land-locked, low-income, food-deficit country with a population of around 7.5 million, three quarters of whom live in rural areas. Only 7 percent of the land is arable. The rugged, mountainous terrain poses enormous challenges, especially during the winter. Tajikistan is 127 out of 182 countries listed on the 2011 UNDP Human Development Index. The country is the poorest in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), with 47.2 percent of the population living on less than US$1.33 a day and 17 percent subsisting on less than 85 cents a day. The majority of the population spends between 70 and 80 percent of their income on food. Access to food is a major challenge, with around one third of the population affected by food insecurity. Repeated shocks, including high food and fuel prices during 2011 and a very harsh winter in 2011/2012 leading to crop and livestock losses, impacted negatively food security.
The goal of WFP operations in Tajikistan is to provide food assistance to the most vulnerable and food-insecure people through emergency and recovery activities. WFP addresses the immediate food needs of victims of regularly recurring natural disasters, especially floods, earthquakes and droughts, with targeted emergency responses. WFP assists to protect the livelihoods of food-insecure households affected by recurrent shocks through seasonal vulnerable group feeding, and helps improve the nutritional status of malnourished children through targeted supplementary and therapeutic feeding. Under the food-for-assets activity, WFP assists fragile communities rebuild their livelihoods through the restoration and creation of community assets that will promote their food security. WFP also provides school meals to 360,000 primary schoolchildren and their teachers providing a safety net to vulnerable families, and also provides food assistance to tuberculosis patients and their families contributing to increased success rates for treatment.