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Book Review

Tajikistan Agriculture Problem

Food security and political stability in Tajikistan

Wednesday 5 September 2018, by Catherine BISSON-SERIAN

Food Security and Political Stability in Tajikistan
Raj Kumar
VIJ Books (India) Pty Ltd (2018)
ISBN-10: 8193759133
ISBN-13: 978-8193759134

This book is an attempt to fill the academic void on Tajikistan, especially pertaining to its food security. This work traces the history of agriculture and food production in Tajikistan from mid-19th century when it came under Russian rule.

There are links between food security and political stability as was evident during the world food crisis of 2007-08. Food riots were witnessed in a number of countries contributing to political instability.

There are a number of dimensions to the problem of food insecurity in Tajikistan. From its inception, Tajikistan has been facing the “geographic handicap” as it is a mountainous country and only 7% of the total land is arable which limits its food production.

In order to ensure sustainable food security, nutrition and food safety, FAO believes the Government of Tajikistan must respond to the following challenges:

  1. Improvement of the investment climate,
  2. continuation of policy reform and strengthening of governmental institutions,
  3. ensuring further support to fanners and creation of an enabling environment for agricultural business development for both women and men,
  4. improvement of the infrastructure,
  5. improvement of the legislative base related to food security, nutrition and food safety,
  6. sustainable management of natural resources including land and water. In addressing these challenges, appropriate consideration will be given to existing gender inequalities to ensure sustainability and effectiveness of agricultural and rural development interventions.

This book is a detailed study of how Soviet economic geography introduced intensive cotton cultivation in Tajikistan at the expense of food crops. Soviet economic planners felt that a region with a hot climate and large water resources should not attempt to grow grains but cotton. In the contemporary context, this book focuses on how the state and international actors have responded to the food insecurity in Tajikistan. Most importantly, the book also analyses the relationship between food security and political stability in Tajikistan.

About the author

Dr Raj Kumar Sharma is an Academic Associate at the Department of Political Science, IGNOU, New Delhi. He holds a PhD degree from Centre for Russian and Central Asian Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

He was earlier a Research Fellow at the United Service Institution of India (USI), New Delhi. He has contributed to different projects on Afghanistan, China and Bangladesh for Integrated Defense Staff (IDS), Ministry of Defense. He is also a contributing writer for the Nikkei Asian Review (Japan) and has earlier taught Political Science at Maitreyi College, University of Delhi. He has also worked as a Journalist with the Press Trust of India, New Delhi. He is co-editor of the book Strategic Balance in the Indo-Pacific Region: Challenges and Prospects. ■

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