DUSHANBE, January 25, 2011, Asia-Plus -- Wholesale prices for wheat and flour have increased on average by US$8.00 in Tajikistan, the Ghalla (grain products) director Taghoymurod Sharipov said in an interview with Asia-Plus.

According to him, the price hike has resulted from increasing prices of wheat and flour in Kazakhstan, which provides the bulk of Tajikistan’s grain and flour imports.

“Compared to December release prices for wheat at the railroad station Sary-Agash in Kazakhstan have increased on average by US$8.00-US$10.00,” said Sharipov.  “The release price for one ton of Kazakh grade 3 wheat is now US$354.00 and the release price for Kazakh grade 1 wheat is now US$416.00.  When Kazakh wheat and flour arrive in Tajikistan, their prices increase by another US$60.00-US$70.00.”

The price for a 50-kilogram sack of Kazakh grade 1 wheat flour at Dushanbe’s bazaars has increased from 115.00 somoni (equivalent to US$26.00) in December to 120.00 somoni (US$27.00).

“Most likely, the international wheat prices will continue to rise until May.  Everything depends on this year’s crop yield.  If this year is dry, prices will continue to rise,” the Ghalla director said.

In 2010, Tajikistan imported 442,800 tons of wheat (39,000 tons more than in 2009) and 371,600 tons of flour (3,000 tons more than in 2009).

Current Tajikistan’s annual requirements in cereals amount to some 1.5 million tons.  According to the statistical data from the Ministry of Agriculture, all categories of farms last year produced 1.261 million tons of cereals, including 911,821 tons of wheat.