Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

All You Can Eat for 25 Dollars

In this report, Akan Imanov went shopping to find out how people survive on a food budget of 1,000 soms a month.
For some people in Bishkek, 1,000 soms or 25 US dollars is a meal for two in a decent restaurant.

Erlan Rozaliev, whom our reporter accompanied to the bazaar, earns 3,000 soms a month, which means that after all his family's other outgoings, there is 1,000 left to last four weeks.

At the end of the shopping trip, with a good bit of haggling thrown in, it was apparent that prices of most items are still rising in the marketplace even though the world prices of some items have dropped recently.

Asked how long his 1,000-som bagful of basic foodstuffs would last, Rozaliev said, “Not so long – ten days at best. Then we’ll have to survive on tea. And it will be the same with next month’s wage-packet.”

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