KULOB, Tajikistan -- Tajik soldiers in the southern Kulob region will receive free wool blankets and new mattresses this winter thanks to large reserves of unused wool in the region, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.
The normally undersupplied soldiers will receive the quality products thanks to huge reserves of wool and other animal products, the result of a suffering economy.
Samad Buydoqov, the head of the state's agricultural office in Kulob, said that more than 300 tons of wool are collected in the area every year.
He added that during the Soviet era, wool was exported to other Soviet republics, but those markets have almost vanished and there are now reserves of hundreds of tons of wool and leather.
Tojiniso Odinayeva, the head of the Zam-Zam Company, told RFE/RL that her company can process only 2-5 tons of wool each month. She noted that it wants to expand its range of woolen products and send employees to Kyrgyzstan to study other ways of processing wool in hopes of increasing its business.