Tajiks Urged to Stock Up on Food

President Imomali Rahmon’s appeal to every household to lay in enough food for the next two years has sparked a debate on the state of Tajikistan’s food reserves.

Tajiks Urged to Stock Up on Food

President Imomali Rahmon’s appeal to every household to lay in enough food for the next two years has sparked a debate on the state of Tajikistan’s food reserves.

Friday, 18 September, 2009
Rahmonov issued the call at the end of July, but so far there does not seem to have been a mad rush to the shops.



Jamiliddin Saifiddinov reports from the southern town of Qurghonteppa, where political parties have been quizzing the local authorities, asking them what contingency plans they have made for the next two years, and what they plan to do to help vulnerable social groups in the event that foodstuffs become scarce.



“Why are there farmers in areas of Afghanistan nearest to us who have reserves of potatoes and other crops, and they export thousands of tons to us?” Hojikalandar Sadriddinzoda, head of the Khatlon regional branch of the opposition Islamic Rebirth Party, asked during the meeting.



Sadriddinzoda warned that if too many people heeded the president’s advice, panic-buying could lead to shortages, inflation and hunger.



Officials at the meeting insisted that Tajikistan had adequate reserves of food.



“In spite of everything [current economic problems], the national authorities have earmarked funds from the government budget for 2009. and there are state reserves,” said.

Nuriddin Shokirov, deputy chief of customs in the region. “I can’t tell you how much money has been allocated or how big the reserves are as that’s confidential information. But the state is taking care of all its citizen. Regardless of how much is produced domestically and how much is imported, we do have reserves now.”



Shodmon Shokirov of Khatlon region’s statistics service added, “In the first seven months of this year, we imported 39 per cent less grain and 34 per cent less flour than in the same period last year. If we weren’t producing it [the remainder] inside the country, how would we be feeding our people?”

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