20 April 2022, Dushanbe – FAO provides continuing and successful support to Tajikistan in improving agriculture and food security statistics by monitoring the achievements of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This is achieved through the implementation of SDG indicators under FAO custodianship in cooperation with relevant national stakeholders. A roadmap for the implementation of SDG indicators and a monitoring framework were developed and endorsed by the Government of Tajikistan.

Following the five-day training workshop on SDG indicator 2.1.2. “Prevalence of moderate or severe food insecurity in the population, based on the Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES),” the Agency on Statistics under the President of Tajikistan decided to collect food security data based on FIES.

The Agency also received support for integration of the FIES module into the existing Households Budget Survey under the scope of the project “Assessing the impact of COVID-19 on the food systems and food security.” The FIES questionnaire was translated into Tajik and a detailed description of questions was prepared. Relevant changes were made in the data collection and processing software of HBS.

As Giorgi Kvinikadze, FAO statistician, noted, “It is very important that the Agency on Statistics decided to include the FIES module in Households Budget Survey. Currently, SDG indicator 2.1.2 is mostly produced by FAO based on an agreement with the World Gallup Poll. Tajikistan joined the group of countries that are producing it, based on their own data. The Tajik experience will be very useful for both FAO and other countries of our region in the integration of the FIES module in household surveys.”

In February 2022, three regional training sessions were conducted for local staff of the Agency of Statistics responsible for the survey in Khujand (for Sughd region), in Bokhtar (for Khatlon region), and in Dushanbe (for DRS and GBAO regions), to build the capacity of local Agency staff responsible for data collection. Implementing the FIES tool allows assess to food insecurity at household level and collects data on SDG indicator 2.1.2.

Firas Yassin, FAO statistician, explained the tool’s advantages for food security data collection, “FIES is designed to provide low-cost and timely information on the adequacy of people’s access to food by asking them directly about their experiences. FIES can be used to produce estimates of the prevalence of food insecurity at different levels of severity and key information for implementing policies aiming to realize the human right to food.”

The Agency on Statistics plans to interview 3 000 households within the scope of HBS, including a new FIES module, during March–May 2022. Tajikistan is a pioneer in implementing FIES for food security data collection in countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

“Jointly with the Agency of Statistics, we have advanced in solving the issue of the lack of the data on food insecurity. In today’s world, it is not enough to measure what and how people eat; the consumption pattern and people’s health primarily depends on their actions linked to their perception of food security,” observed Oleg Guchgeldiyev, FAO Representative in Tajikistan. “The proposed methodology will widen our understanding of the country’s situation with regard to food security and prompt relevant actions.”

This activity is part of the FAO project “Assessing the impact of COVID-19 on the food systems and food security.” The project aims to support government partners to collect and analyze relevant information, put in place systems for the continuous monitoring of food security information, design effective short- and long-term policy responses that minimize the negative impacts of COVID-19 on domestic food systems, and maximize potential contributions to the country’s achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.