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

Northern Tajikistan's Crumbling Industry

In a report on the northern region of Soghd, Kamari Ahrorzoda asked just how bad a year 2008 was for residents of an area that used to be Tajikistan’s economic powerhouse.
Some interviewees said the year was pretty much like any other in recent times – in other words bad, with electricity and gas in short supply.

Economist Nematullo Mirsaidov said there was little sign of economic progress, and many industrial plants in the region were all but at a standstill.

“One is sometimes amazed that Tajikistan grows its own cotton, yet its textile plants are standing idle,” he said.

Although Tajikistan is better known for exporting hundreds of thousands of labour migrants to Russia, farms in Soghd region has attracted temporary workers from neighbouring Uzbekistan in recent years.

“Two or three years ago the standard of living in Uzbekistan was lower than in Tajikistan… and one thing that proved this was that Uzbeks came to work in Tajikistan,” said Mirsaidov. “Now you don’t see that any more; there aren’t any migrants from Uzbekistan.”

Meanwhile, medical experts say the state of the economy in Soghd region is having an effect on people’s health. They say they are seeing more cases of anaemia among pregnant women because the cost of basic foodstuff such as meat, cooking oil and flour has been rising so fast.

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