Uzbekistan will gradually reduce state’s role in cotton trading, opening up opportunities for private companies in Central Asia’s most populous nation and one of the world’s top cotton producers. The government has traditionally bought all cotton and wheat from farmers, directing them how much to grow every season and taking care of exports.
But the practice needed to be phased out in order to encourage private investment, a major policy shift for the nation of 33 million. Uzbekistan is the world’s 10th-largest cotton exporter. However, the former Soviet republic plans to gradually cease raw cotton exports in favor of domestic textile production.