The harshest winter since 2008 is contributing to shortages of staple vegetables across Central Asia and sending prices north in a region still suffering from COVID-induced food inflation.
In Uzbekistan, record frosts have highlighted the shortcomings of the national energy system as even residents of the capital spent days on end without power. But the cold has also hammered the agriculture sector in the region’s most populous country.
On January 20, the Uzbek agriculture minister announced a four-month ban on exports of onions after prices doubled in three weeks.
The title of the ministry’s press release – “there are reserves of onions in Uzbekistan” – hints at panic.