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Tajik Province Bans Grain, Potatoes As Prices Increase

Exports restricted
Exports restricted
QURGHONTEPPA, Tajikistan -- Tajik authorities in the southern Khatlon Province have banned the export of grain and potatoes to Afghanistan and Uzbekistan until spring 2011, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

They say the decision was taken after Russia placed a ban on grain exports, which affects Tajikistan's grain stocks.

Tajik exports of grain and potatoes to neighboring Afghanistan and Uzbekistan are routed primarily through the Khatlon region.

Tojiddin Sodiqov, who heads Khatlon's agricultural department, told RFE/RL that Tajik farmers last year produced 1 million tons of grain, which is 60 percent of the country's annual needs.

He said this year Tajikistan will harvest less grain than last year, which is why exports need to be restricted in order to prevent a rise in prices.

But Tajik-based analyst Davlat Shoetibor said prices will go up despite the export restrictions. Shoetibor pointed out that the price of grain has already risen sharply both at local bazaars and on the world market.

One kilo of wheat currently costs 1.3 somonis (31 U.S. cents) in Qurghonteppa, compared with 0.60 somonis one year ago.