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Tajik Official Calls For Food Price Cuts

Dushanbe Mayor Mahmadsaid Ubaydulloev

Dushanbe Mayor Mahmadsaid Ubaydulloev

DUSHANBE -- The mayor of Dushanbe has called on market traders to lower the prices they charge for flour, beef, and lamb, following a spike in the cost of basic food items, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Mahmadsaid Ubaydulloev said beef should cost no more than 23 somonis ($5.10) and lamb no more than 24 somonis ($5.32) per kilogram.

The price of meat two weeks ago was about 21 somonis.

But beef and lamb prices have risen in the past few days to 27 and 28 somonis per kilogram, an increase of some 33 percent.

Food prices in Tajikistan have risen dramatically due to a recent increase in the price of fuel and the U.S. dollar's rise against the local currency.

According to official data, Tajikistan imports 60 percent of its food and all of its fuel and mineral fertilizers.

Tajik authorities have announced they have earmarked 60 million somonis (approx. $13.4 million) for buying wheat and fuel, and a further 260 million somonis (approx. $58 million) for subsidies to the country's most vulnerable families.

But some economic analysts say that may not be enough considering the scale of the price increases in the country, which is regarded as one of the poorest in Central Asia.

The average monthly salary in Tajikistan is about $106.