Thursday, August 28, 2014


Silly Dictator Story #22: Rahmon’s Solution To Food Shortages

Tajikistan's president surrounded by food.
Tajikistan's president surrounded by food.
There is nothing silly about food shortages. There are, however, silly statements. On September 26, Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rahmon urged his countrymen to store two years’ worth of food reserves in order to prepare for the upcoming harsh winter.

Rahmon also reminded his countrymen that rising commodity prices makes the effective use of agricultural resources imperative.

In a country where food shortages are a serious issue, urging people to store two years' worth of food reserves over the duration of several months may prove difficult. 

In Tajikistan, the majority of the population spends between 70 and 80 percent of their income on food and 47 percent survive on less than $1.33 a day. 

In 2011, high food and fuel prices led to crop and livestock losses. Rahmon blamed the increasing food prices partially on local farmers, saying that prices increased because “we did not work properly last year and did not fulfill the instructions in time.”

This latest presidential decree comes at a time when there are fears of a global food crisis. This year, the United States experienced its worst drought in more than 50 years, raising fears that it could lead to major hikes in maize and soybean prices.

According to the World Bank, droughts in the United States and Eastern Europe caused global food prices to increase by 10 percent in July. 

This situation shouldn't bother Tajiks, however, as Rahmon appears to have a plan in place to handle any food shortages that might arise... 

-- Deana Kjuka 

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Comment Sorting
by: Tahmina from: Vilnius
September 27, 2012 04:32
The plan is not as wacky as you think! Any household, anywhere in the world, should think of contingencies for potential shortages in the future. That is even more importatn for a country with three-quarters of populatio living in rural areas. That said, the macro-view is surely missing and President Rahmaon is as guilty of not utilizing the country's choice and scarse flatlands to grow food as is the World Bank, as both have pushed for the near-monopoly of cotton in the most fertile valleys of the country and that too to the benefit of a corrupt elite, including members of his cabinet and relatives. So if you wear a cotton shirt made by Gap or any other brand, the chances are some amount of Tajik cotton is in there and you,the global citizen, too, have contributed to food shortage, labour exploitation and evironmental degradation in Tajikistan and Central Asia!

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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