The purpose of this project was to provide Oxfam a comparative briefing note on the five FSU countries where Oxfam continues to operate; Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Russia and Tajikistan. It offered a, necessarily brief, overview of the collapse and partial recovery of the economies in these countries, focusing on the continuing problems of poverty, social exclusion and physical dislocation. It finally looked at the current situation in the five countries as it relates to food security and suggest how strategies to resolve the problem of food security may also help to fix the regions broader problems.
Notwithstanding Oxfam’s involvement in these five countries they represent an interesting cross-section of the FSU. Tajikistan remains the poorest country in the region. Georgia, which was previously one of the richest Soviet states, fell the furthest and has recovered the least (relative to its original position). All of the countries were damaged by war in the late 80s and early 90s. The non-oil producers are also heavily dependent on remittances. Finally, when looking at food/energy security, Armenia, Georgia and Tajikistan as net importers are vulnerable to price shocks, while Azerbaijan and Russia benefit from rising commodity prices. However, given the aspiration in all countries to develop agriculture, they would all benefit from a better managed food trading environment.