Household remoteness and patterns of food production and consumption in Tajikistan

Heather Anderson, Elizabeth A. Wood, Agata Kowalewska, Nargiza Ludgate, Sarah McKune


Malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies are significant public health problems in the Central Asian country of Tajikistan, with over 26% of children under age 5 being stunted and 30% being anemic. The Khatlon Province is the country’s largest agricultural area where people are often dependent on home gardens to ensure food security. The proximity of households to resources such as markets, roads, and infrastructure can affect food availability, diets, and diversity of agricultural products for consumption. This study aims to evaluate whether the remoteness of a household affects the production, consumption, and acquisition of specific crops among households in Khatlon Province, Tajikistan. A remote household was defined as one that is distant from markets and the main center of population, difficult to travel to, and has limited resources. This cross-sectional study used a household survey and focus groups to measure crop production, consumption, and food acquisition. Household surveys were administered to 107 households in six Khatlon districts and 15 focus groups were conducted in various rural villages within Khatlon. Data was analyzed using a two-sample t-test for the household surveys and NVivo software for capturing major themes within the focus groups. Results revealed that there was no statistically significant difference when comparing households for remoteness in regard to crop production, frequency of consumption, and acquisition. Frequency of food consumption was similar when comparing remoteness but significantly decreased among all households when the crop was not in season. Programs that increase agricultural knowledge about production and extended growing season are extremely beneficial to improve nutrition in these vulnerable households. Additionally, gender-related concerns were discovered within the qualitative data such as the double burden of working to maintain crops as well as managing a household. Therefore, interventions based around agricultural production and acquisition should target women.  


Tajikistan; acquisition; remoteness; dietary diversity; health


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DOI: 10.33687/ijae.006.01.2373


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