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Tajik leader urges population to build food stores

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan (AP) -- The president of the impoverished Central Asian nation of Tajikistan has urged his countrymen to store two years' worth of food reserves ahead of what is expected to be a harsh winter.

In a statement Wednesday, Emomali Rakhmon's office cited him as saying that rising global commodity prices have made effective use of agricultural resources imperative.

The World Bank estimates that three-quarters of Tajikistan's population is engaged in farming, but food scarcity still remains an acute problem.

Many observers attribute economic troubles in Tajikistan, a nation of 7 million on Afghanistan's northern border, to rampant corruption and the enduring impact of the civil war in the 1990s.

Hundreds of thousands of working-aged men have left the country for work, mainly in Russia, leaving behind a largely female rural workforce.