Tajik Cotton Farmers Unable To Repay Bank Loans

Business Materials 13 March 2009 12:14 (UTC +04:00)

Cotton farmers in Tajikistan say that the reduced market for their product means they are unable to repay loans to Tajik banks.

There are some 56,000 cotton farmers in Khatlon Province who borrowed a total of some 550 million somoni ($142 million) from local commercial banks with an annual interest rate of 25 percent.

Nurali Turdiev, a farmer in the southern Khatlon Province, told RFE/RL's Tajik Service that he cannot repay his $3,500 debt to the bank because he cannot sell his cotton.

Khatlon Governor Ghaybulloh Afzalov said all farmers should repay their debts, or they risk having banks foreclose on their property. But Agroinvestbank analyst Bahrom Sharifov told RFE/RL that Tajik legislation does not allow for the confiscation and sale of land, and the government should propose another solution.

Last week Agroinvestbank asked the Tajik government to postpone a debt repayment until the end of the year, so that farmers and local banks will not be driven to bankruptcy.