The Society for Social Work and Research

2014 Annual Conference

January 15-19, 2014 I Grand Hyatt San Antonio I San Antonio, TX

Food Security and the Impact of Climate Change in the Context of Communities in Tajikistan, Central Asia

Saturday, January 18, 2014: 8:00 AM
HBG Convention Center, Room 001A River Level (San Antonio, TX)
* noted as presenting author
Suhaily B. Mamadraimov, MSW, Student, Washington University in Saint Louis, University city, MO
Purpose:Climate change is a global challenge that has potential adverse impact on food security for all countries of the world; however, the severity of its impact is felt most in the developing world of remote mountain communities that remain highly dependent on their ecological systems, face with frequent natural disasters as well lack adequate coping capacity to address the adverse effect of changing climate. On the other hand, studies indicate climate change impact is not always negatively associated with food security and some areas see the increase in temperature creating better opportunities for food production. Given this context, the study looks at this issue in the context of Tajikistan by addressing the following questions:

Does climate change have an impact on food security for communities in Tajikistan?

Is the impact of climate change on food security different across the high altitude mountain communities?  

Does climate change have differential impact on food security in low land communities compared to the high altitude mountain regions of the country?

Methods:Based on longitudinal data from Hydro-Meteorological department of Tajikistan’s government, the average trend in the change of temperature and precipitation over more than 50 years (1940 -1995) was analysed. For food security analysis, the Tajik Standard Living Survey (2007-2009) of World Bank was used, which originally covered the national stratified sample of 1503 households; however for the purpose of this study only a subsample of 622 households were selected. For this research, descriptive and multiple regression statistic tests were used to describe the population characteristics as well search for association.  Climate change variables such as precipitation (amount of rain in millimeters) and temperature (degree centigrade) were used to see the association with food security which is a food security index measured at continuous scale.                                 

Results:The findings from multiple regression test found temperature and precipitation positively association with food security for across all regions of the country while controlling for other variables and these results were also consistent with high altitude mountain communities. However, for low altitude regions only precipitation showed significant results. These findings indicate that climate change over the period of more than 50 years has been contributing positively to food security in Tajikistan, while this association varies across different geographic locations.

Conclusions and Implications: In Tajikistan changing trend in climate has been observed over the past 50 or more years and this is found to benefit communities more favorable in terms of food availability, especially the high altitude regions but also the lower elevated regions. However, these results shoulde be considered in the face of evidence based research findings that predict more negative impact from climate change given this temperature increase is maintained over longer period of time. Meanwhile, the severity of this impact will also depend on the country’s social and economic development conditions. To address this issue will among other interventions require continuous data collection locally for temperature and precipitation as well as conducting surveys to understand perceptions of people about the impact of climate change on food security.