EastFruit experts draw attention to the high probability of losing a significant part of the early potato crop in Tajikistan.
Planting of early potatoes in most of the country took place on the eve of the holiday of Idi Sad farmers, that is, until January 30, after which an abnormally warm weather was established in Tajikistan, contributing to the active germination of potatoes.
At the same time, due to the high level of prices for marketable potatoes, the sown area for the harvest of 2021 has expanded significantly. Which, by the way, provoked an even more significant rise in prices for marketable potatoes, because it was also actively used as a seed this year. There are no exact figures on how much the area has expanded, but we are talking about thousands of hectares, according to market participants.
Land owners and tenants say local officials have actively encouraged Tajiks to grow potatoes and rushed them to plant early, in the hope that this will lower prices once the harvest begins to hit the market. Local media also regularly reported on the success of planting potatoes.
However, in the coming days, frosts are expected in central Tajikistan, and, according to weather forecasts, on Friday night the temperature can reach minus 10 degrees Celsius and even remain below zero during the day. Unfortunately, frosts can last from 5 to 6 days. If this forecast is confirmed, then the harvest of early potatoes could be completely destroyed.
According to agronomists, the harvest of potato growers in Tajikistan can be partially saved by abundant watering of potatoes with the cover of the entire plantation with agrofibre. However, it is obvious that not everyone has sufficient quantities of covering materials to protect all areas of potatoes, and the likelihood of at least partial loss of yield is quite high.
Recall that the Minister of Agriculture of Tajikistan Sulaimon Ziezoda announced in his report on the forecasts of a record growth in areas. “In 2021, we intend to increase the area under potatoes to over 71 thousand hectares,” the minister said. Moreover, in 2020, potatoes in Tajikistan would be harvested from more than 54 thousand hectares. That is, it was expected to expand the area by almost a third.
Since potato prices are already high, the partial loss of early potato yields could lead to an even sharper increase in the price of this socially important product. Since potatoes in Tajikistan are considered "the second bread", such a development of events would be extremely undesirable for everyone. Moreover, this season the prices for potatoes in Russia, from where the products could be imported, are quite high, and at the moment they continue to grow. Tuber prices in Uzbekistan are also at a historically high level. The supply of potatoes from Pakistan may partially relieve tension from the market, but the influence of this factor has already been practically exhausted. Therefore, it remains to be hoped that the weather forecasts will turn out to be incorrect.