You Crazy Dictator: Tajikistan's Solution to Food Shortages

By Deana Kjuka
Emomali Rahmon has a plan.

Rahmon-Banner-1.jpgRahmon surrounded by food. (RFE/RL)
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 spend 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 hike in maize and soybean prices. According to the World Bank, droughts in the U.S. 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 ...


Copyright (c) 2012. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/09/you-crazy-dictator-tajikistans-solution-to-food-shortages/262892/