The 2009 harvest in Tajikistan is exceptionally good, but access to food remains difficult for vulnerable families, according to the FAO. The agency, in its October crop and food security assessment report, noted that the wheat crop is at a record high of 829,000 tonnes, one quarter more than last year, and yields of potatoes and other staple crops have substantially increased this season. Timely and well-distributed rainfall, improved seeds, and wider use of fertilizer all contributed to this improvement, said the agency. Nevertheless, FAO added, prices for wheat and other food items remain above pre-food crisis levels. This, coupled with the drop in remittances from migrant labor, continues to hamper the ability of vulnerable populations to buy food. The WFP has been providing various forms of assistance in the country, including hot meals to some 360,000 children in primary schools and food aid to an estimated 260,000 Tajiks living in hardship regions. (UN News Service)

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