Prices for lemons are fixed in recent days in the markets of Sughd region. Now a kilogram of this source of vitamin C is sold at 30-35 somoni.

During the global COVID-19 pandemic, various information and fakes appear on the Internet, allegedly that the lemon can prevent coronavirus infection and the use of this citrus fruit helps to boost immunity.

Even WHO experts have clarified these publications. Michael Ryan, director of the WHO Health Emergencies Program, said in April 1 briefing in Geneva that eating ginger and lemon can help maintain health, but the therapeutic effect of these products on COVID-19 coronavirus infection has not been proven.

“Everything that helps us feel better, everything that gives confidence and everything that you think is not dangerous can certainly have a positive effect on health. But it is not the same thing that it is effective against the disease. At the moment, there is no therapy whose effectiveness in combating COVID-19 has been confirmed,” he said in response to a question whether ginger helps to defend itself or recover from a new coronavirus.

Ryan also recalled that WHO is currently conducting large-scale testing of the most promising drugs against COVID-19. “So, I would advise people, if they have their favorite means, like lemon, ginger or honey, to continue to support them during their illness. But let’s not make unsubstantiated assumptions that anything could cure COVID-19. Currently there is no confirmed therapy,” he added.

30 somoni per kilogram

Messages and numerous information on the Internet and the media have served to the fact that the price of lemons has risen sharply in the markets and retail outlets of the Sugd region. In the main market of Sughd region – the Panjshanbe market, lemons were sold (04/02/2020) at a price of 30 somoni per kilogram. As the sellers themselves say, just a week ago this product was sold for 13-16 somoni per kilogram. However, sellers attribute the increase in the price of lemon not with coronavirus, but with the end of the growing season of citrus fruits and high demand.

According to official figures, today in the Sugd region there are 176 greenhouses for growing lemons and various decorative flowers. As Mukhtorjon Tajiev, chief specialist of the Main Directorate of Agriculture of Sugd Region, noted to the correspondent of IA SN, a total of lemon is grown in the region on the territory of 9.75 hectares, and until January 2020, 88.5 tons of this type of citrus fruit were obtained.

“Lemon is a seasonal fruit. By the end of March and the beginning of April, the season for collecting lemons is drawing to a close. Lemons spoil quickly and cannot be stored for a long time. This type of product goes to retail outlets immediately from greenhouses,” says Mukhtorjon Tajiev.

It should be noted that lemons rise in price on the background of the fact that three months ago in Tajikistan this product was sold at half the price. In early January of this year, Tajik farmers said that due to lower prices for lemons, they suffer losses and are looking for ways to export. Then, local experts connected the situation with a rich harvest and a decrease in the volume of citrus exports.

“Citrus farmers complained that despite an unprecedented harvest of lemons, they suffer losses due to lower demand and low prices for lemon fruits. In the markets of Dushanbe, lemons could be purchased at a price of 5 somoni per kg. For comparison: a year ago a kilogram of lemons cost 10-12 somoni (about 1 dollar). According to market traders, they bought lemons from farmers at a price of 3-4 somoni per kilogram,” Radio Ozodi wrote on January 12, 2020.

In an interview with Radio Ozodi journalists, Akbar Naimov, a farmer from the Jaihun district of Khatlon, complained that the proceeds from the sale did not even cover expenses.

“Meyer’s lemon, which is grown in our country, is, as you know, whimsical in care: high-quality drainage, watering, various top dressing and spraying are necessary. So, growing lemons is daily hard work. Many farmers because of the current situation decided to abandon the cultivation of lemons and engage in the cultivation of other crops,” said the farmer three months ago.

According to experts, the increase in food prices, including lemons, is also associated with inflation. If in early March 1 dollar was equal to 9.7 somoni, then over the past ten days, 1 dollar has risen to 10.20 somoni.

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