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Food Self-Sufficiency Study in Central Asia and the Caucasus: Current State and Perspectives

Following the COVID-19 epidemic and the Ukraine war, which caused in higher and more fluctuating food prices, several Central Asian and Caucasus nations indicated greater interest in implementing programs to boost their food self-sufficiency (FSS) states. However, the concept of food self-sufficiency needs to be rethought by development organizations and by national governments facing instability in the global and regional markets. Furthermore, initiatives aimed at assisting FSS may have unanticipated consequences for food security. Aside from that, policy initiatives promoting food self-sufficiency have the potential to disrupt agri-food trade flows. To address all of these concerns, the FAO Sub-regional Office for Central Asia (SEC) commissioned a study conducted by the University of Central Asia to provide decision-makers in four selected countries (Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan) with an evidence-based analysis of the benefits and drawbacks of FSS policy.

Based on the data collected on the current condition of food self-sufficiency in Central Asia and the Caucasus, UCA conducted an evidence-based analysis of food self-sufficiency policies in several Central Asian and Caucasian countries. UCA hosted four webinars for Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan between December 2023 and January 2024 to share the initial findings of the study. Representatives from the four nations provided comments and input to help improve the final report on food self-sufficiency in Central Asia and the Caucasus. The ideas and opinions received were put into the final draft of the report, which summarized the FSS situation in Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. To finish the process of study the last event (off-line workshop) is planned to be organized in March 2024. During the workshop, a final report with incorporated comments, as well as relevant FAO research materials, will be presented, followed by an open discussion of the study and next actions. The workshop's target audience will include representatives from the Ministries of Agriculture of Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.