YEREVAN (Azatutyun) — Authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh have decided to ration bread in the capital Stepanakert to cope with a serious shortage of flour resulting from Azerbaijan’s nine-month blockade of the Lachin corridor.
They began handing out Monday ration stamps to residents of the town which is home to roughly half of Karabakh’s estimated population of 120,000. Starting from Tuesday, every Stepanakert resident will be able to buy only half a loaf of bread weighing 200 grams.
Bread has become an even more important staple food in Stepanakert and other Karabakh towns since Azerbaijan tightened the blockade in mid-June by halting all relief supplies to the Armenian-populated region carried out by Russian peacekeepers and the International Committee of the Red Cross. Local food stores have run out of most other basic foodstuffs rationed since January.
The bread shortage worsened at the end of August, with locals spending more hours waiting in lines to buy up to two loaves per person from bakeries.
Karabakh’s Agricultural Support Fund again urged local farmers at the weekend to sell off their wheat stocks and thus help alleviate the deficit. The fund set a higher price — 250 drams per kilogram (65 US cents) — and offered other incentives in hopes of buying more wheat grown by them.
By comparison, the market-based wholesale price of wheat in Armenia currently stands at less than 100 drams per kilogram.