Cotton and wheat are the two main cash crops in Tajikistan, cultivated on nearly 70% of the cropped area (30% under cotton, 36% under wheat, 9% under other cereals). Cotton fiber is Tajikistan's leading agricultural export commodity, contributing 16% of total exports (it is second only to aluminium, which accounts for a staggering 60% of the country's exports). Cotton requires high temperatures and intensive irrigation, and it is primarily grown in hot river valleys: the Ferghana Valley on the Syr Darya in Northern Tajikistan (Sughd Province), the Lower Kofarnihon and Vakhsh valleys in south-western Khatlon, Kyzylsu and Panj valleys in south-eastern Khatlon, and Gissar Valley stretching west of Dushanbe to the border with Uzbekistan around the middle course of Kofarnihon River. Khatlon Province is the main cotton growing area in Tajikistan, contributing 60% of the cotton harvest; Ferghana Valley in the north of Sughd Province contributes 30% and Gissar Valley (in the Region of Republican Subordination) another 10%. The Tajik part of Zeravshan Valley in the south of Sughd Province is too cold for cotton, which grows only further west in the Uzbek part of the valley near Bukhara. The intensive irrigation of cotton in Tajikistan's valleys reduces the flow in the two large rivers feeding the Aral Sea: the Syr Darya in the Ferghana Valley in the north and the Amu Darya along the southern border with Afghanistan, which in turn relies on its tributaries Kofarnihon, Vakhsh, and Kyzylsu rivers. The "white gold" of Tajikistan, as well as Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, may well have contributed to the catastrophic drying of the Aral Sea during the Soviet times and thereafter.
Wheat and barley are cultivated in rainfed areas, mostly in the southern plains of Khatlon province. Rice, on the other hand, is grown in river valleys, where paddies can be easily created by flooding. The main rice producer in Tajikistan is Sughd Province. Fully 44% of the rice harvest comes from Zeravshan and Fergana valleys in Sughd; another 36% is produced in the heavily irrigated Khatlon lowlands and the remaining 20% comes from Gissar Valley, irrigated by the Kofarnihon River. Other crops include potatoes, vegetables, and melons, which are grown across the entire country. The north of the country produces apricots, pears, plums, apples, cherries, pomegranates, figs, and nuts. Fresh fruits are consumed locally, whereas dried fruits are a traditional export for Tajikistan (making up more than 1% of total exports in 2005, with Russia the main destination).
Animals raised in Tajikistan include (in descending order of importance) chickens, cattle, sheep, goats, and horses. Beef, mutton, and poultry are the most important meat products; cow's milk, goat's milk, cheese, and wool are also important. Silk production exists, but remains a comparatively minor industry.
In March 2008, the International Monetary Fund announced that Tajikistan had drawn between 2004 and 2006 more than US$47 million from the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility on the basis of inaccurate information regarding government debt and National Bank reserves. The National Bank of Tajikistan had guaranteed loans to the cotton sector, thus increasing government obligations without telling the IMF. The IMF ordered the country to repay this amount in six monthly installments during 2008-2009, while taking action to improve and strengthen the monitoring of data reported to the Fund. BBC reports an IMF source characterizing this as one of the worst cases of misreporting to the Fund.