Tajikistan, one of many developing nations to feel the impact of inflation on food and fuel prices.

The effects of inflation are being felt across the globe as food and commodity prices are sky rocketing. The situation is so dire that the United Nations World Food Program reported that it would need half a billion dollars more this year to fulfill its 2008 projects.

The countries it identified as being directly impacted were Zimbabwe, Eritrea, Haiti, Djibouti and Gambia, Tajikistan, Togo, Chad, Benin, Myanmar, Cameroon, Niger, Senegal, Yemen and Cuba.

Julian Borger of the Guardian reported Joachim von Braun, the head of the International Food Policy Research Institute as saying:

“The fundamental cause is high income growth. I estimate this is half the story. The biofuels is another 30%. Then there are weather-induced erratic changes which caused irritation in world food markets. These things have eaten into world levels of grain storage. The lower the reserves, the more nervous the markets become, and the increased volatility is particularly detrimental to the poor who have small assets.”

Taking Tajikistan as an example, it is estimated that 200,000 people are affected by a food emergency. It has been severely hit by rising prices for bread and flour and other products. This has combined with an exceptionally cold winter, and the fact that Tajikistan is reliant on Uzbekistan for imports of gas and electricity. Uzbekistan has raised prices sharply in reply to its own increased internal demand during the freezing winter.

Earlier this month the government of Tajikistan called for international assistance when it became overwhelmed by temperatures that fell to -25 degrees. It came in the coldest winter in decades plunging the country into an energy crisis. Rationing of water, gas and electricity meant that many were suffering without heating at all and existing on barely a meal a day.

According to the Tajik National Bank, prolonged power cuts have dealt a severe blow to the economy, costing it at least 250 million US dollars). Almost all industrial plants and the service sector had stopped working owing to the lack of gas and electricity. The extreme weather has affected spring crops and losses are expected to affect important export crops making the situation even more devastating for Tajikistan. Many of the young are migrating to get work and help support families left behind. Moral in the country as a result of the ongoing crisis has dropped and it is clear that improved weather conditions will not remedy the underlying economic problems that the country is facing.

The story for poor Haitians is also depressing as people are forced to eat mud cakes made from mud, a little oil and salt to subsist. Prices for food have risen so much in the country that the people have to resort to this.

These are just two instances of the world’s poorest nations having to go hungry so that the fuel needs of the first world can be met by using food crops for biofuels or for the production of meat.

The article in the Guardian contains a longer list of countries facing similar problems for those that would like to read some more on this topic. Another excellent analysis of the problems of Tajikistan can be found at the following link.

As mentioned in a earlier post, these food problems are escalating into more serious social and political unrest. The problem will not be swept under the carpet and the discontent is sure to rise.

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~ by abstraktbiblos on Wednesday, 27 February, 2008.

2 Responses to “Tajikistan, one of many developing nations to feel the impact of inflation on food and fuel prices.”

  1. […] Tajikistan, one of many developing nations to feel the impact of … […]

  2. […] the same time, Tajikistan is not the only one to have shortage of food products, reports GreenIcebergs. It is one of many to feel the impact of food and fuel crisis through the globe. […]

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