Tomato prices have jumped sharply in Tajikistan in recent days.  Thus, on July 26, farmers from Hisor district sold their tomatoes to retailors at a bazaar in Dushanbe’s 33rd neighborhood at the rate of 7.00-8.00 somonis per kilogram, and the retailors in turn raised prices to 12.00 somonis per kilogram.  

Farmer Abduhofiz Mirzoyev has explained the sharp rise in tomato prices by the onset of an intermediate period, when the early harvest is completed and the harvesting of late-ripe tomatoes begins.   

“Usually this period occurs in late July - early August, and at this time, not only tomatoes but also other crops are becoming more expensive.  In a week, the mass collection of late varieties will begin and prices may go down,” the famer said.  

Besides, fuel and fertilizers price hike has led to increase in prices for agricultural products.

Another reason for increasing prices for agricultural products in Tajikistan is an abnormally hot weather. Farmers from Hisor Valley say most of tomatoes in the region dried up under the scorching rays of the sun.  

Meanwhile, EastFruit experts say the consequences of such hot weather are felt by all agricultural producers.   

According to them, the unusual heat has caused serious problems to fruit and vegetables growers. The air temperature in the shade has often exceeded 45 degrees Celsius for more than a week, even in the northern regions of Tajikistan.  Last week, the air temperature was also above 40 degrees, and now it has become extreme.

All agricultural producers feel the consequences of such hot weather.  Vegetable and fruit growers reportedly talk about sunburn on fruits, a sharp deterioration in product quality, no growth, and even complete loss of crops, despite their best efforts.

“Even tomatoes that “love” hot weather literally dry up in the fields.  Therefore, their supply has dropped sharply over the past week, and prices have doubled,” Bakhtiyor Abduvohidov, international consultant to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), said.

He reportedly also notes that as a rule, tomato prices in Tajikistan reach their minimum during this period of the year, and the season of preservation of vegetables for winter begins.  Many urban residents buy large volumes of tomatoes at low prices in wholesale and retail markets at this time.  Although jars and lids for them are sold very actively, not everyone can buy raw materials at such prices.  Given the irrevocable losses of farmers in the fields, cheap tomatoes may not be available this season.  This means that consumers will have to purchase more expensive food and their spending on food can increase significantly in the winter.

EastFruit experts have repeatedly noted that climate change leads to serious negative consequences for farmers around the world.  As for the countries of Central Asia, growing vegetables in the open field is becoming an increasingly risky business.  Therefore, producers should pay attention to various options, such as greenhouses or film tunnels. For certain market segments, even vertical farms can gradually become more and more relevant.