A resident of Tursunzoda, who picks ferula for Faroz Company every year, has told Asia-Plus on the basis of anonymity that Faroz Company this year decided to conclude contracts directly with pickers without mediators.  As a result, persons who were recruiting unemployed people from villages for picking ferula have been sidelined.  

Dozens of people reportedly rallied outside Faroz office in Dushanbe on April 29.  According to Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service, locally known as Radio Ozodi, they demanded that the company rethink its decision to cut the fee it pays to them for ferula.  

One of demonstrators told Radio Ozodi that Faroz proposed them to pick ferula at the rate of 10.00 U.S. dollars per kilogram against the previous 60.00 U.S. dollars.  Otherwise, the company reportedly said that it would recruit Afghans who agreed to come to Tajikistan to work at that rate.

Radio Liberty later noted that the demonstrators had been detained.     

Meanwhile, the Asia-Plus interlocutor said, “I do not know exactly who were detained but I suspect it was the mediators.”  

According him, the mediators have paid them 50.00 somoni per day, “but we do not know how much they received from Faroz per one kilogram of ferula.”

Asked why they do not work without mediators, he said, “We cannot get access to Faroz.  When we go there they say that there is no work for us.  Therefore, we are forced to work through mediators.  On the one hand, we receive less, but on other hand, we cannot sell off the product without them [mediators – Asia-Plus].” 

Faroz reportedly has monopoly over the trade of ferula in Tajikistan.  It is a highly diversified company and has interests in various areas, including pharmaceuticals, banking and fuel distribution.  

Faroz established a special enterprise for ferula processing in 2008.  

Recall, the Tajik authority imposed temporary ban on collection of ferula in 2013 in order to restore areas under this plant in the country.

Ferula collected in Tajikistan is mainly exported to Afghanistan and India.  The price of one kilogram of ferula fell from 100.00 USD in 2009 to 40.00-50.00 USD in 2013. 

Ferula is a genus of about 170 species of flowering plants in the family Apiacease, mostly growing in arid climates.  Several species of ferula grow in Tajikistan.   One of species of ferula native to Iran and Central Asia is Asafoetida (Ferula assafoetida).  It is an herbaceous perennial plant growing to 2 m tall, with stout, hollow, somewhat succulent stems 5-8 cm diameter at the base of the plant.  Asafoetida has certain medicinal uses and most commonly is used as a digestive aid.  It is reputed to lessen flatulence and is often added to lentil or eggplant dishes in small quantities.  It is also said to be helpful in cases of asthma and bronchitis.