Uzbekistan, the ex-USSR’s top cotton producer, expects a record cotton harvest of at least 4 million tons of raw cotton this year. Harvesting began in early September and will probably end by October 15-20. In 1994 the republic collected 3.9 million tons of raw cotton or 1.3 million tons of cotton fiber, ranking fourth in the world as a producer and third as an exporter. In 1994, cotton fiber accounted for 76% of the value of the country’s overall export. (14)
Soviet rule has left Uzbekistan with a relatively modest textile industry; much of the Uzbek cotton used to be shipped to textile plants in other republics. Cotton fiber’s continued predominance in the country’s foreign trade is a consequence of the cotton monoculture which Soviet rule brought to Uzbekistan.