The Cost of Bread and Flour in Turkmenistan is Steeply Rising

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According to local media, bread and flour are becoming much more expensive in Turkmenistan’s state stores.

The price of a kilogram of flour is being quoted at 3.5 manat ($1 at the state rate or $0.18 at the black market rate), instead of the one manat ($0.30 at the state rate or $0.05 at the black market rate) previously. Similarly, the cost of a loaf of bread has increased to 2.5 manats ($0.72 or $0.13) from one manat ($0.3 or $0.05).

The food ration limit has stayed the same despite the price increases: one person can still only purchase three loaves of bread and five kilograms of flour.

In Turkmenistan, state and private stores have entirely different prices. Private stores offer everything, but many families often cannot afford the goods. Although the prices in state stores are significantly lower, scarcity is a common issue, and there’s a rationing quota that caps the quantity of goods sold to each individual.

Additionally, lines frequently form in state stores because of the influx of customers looking to purchase bread at reduced prices. This occasionally leads to sad consequences; according to Turkmenistan’s domestic mass media, a woman was killed in a fight in the Tashkhovuz region last summer while purchasing subsidized flour.

People in Turkmenistan prefer to purchase flour imported from Kazakhstan over local flour found in state stores, in part due to the country’s growing demand for flour and bakery products, according to a report by Tukrman News. For instance, people in the Maryam region claim that Kazakh flour costs just slightly more and is of higher quality.

A 50-kilogram bag of local flour costs at least 180 manat ($51.50), while the price of Kazakh flour is 200 manat ($60.10). However, according to some shoppers, Turkmen flour smells bad and looks gray in color. It is not available in infinite quantities: there is still a five-kilogram per person ration quota in place.

According to people cited by Turkmen news, in addition to the price of bread and flour, prices for fertilizers, irrigation water and leases for the use of state equipment have increased several times. Unfortunately, farmers who rent land from the government aren’t receiving any additional income from the increase in retail purchase prices.