The June 13-19 issue of the Economist has a good analysis of the suicide attacks that took place at the end of May in Uzbekistan's Fergana Valley, one of the heaviest cotton-growing areas. Discussing the state's land-redistribution campaign that came at the end of the 2008 harvest, the paper notes:
Ostensibly to rationalise agricultural production, Mr. Karimov decreed in October that landholdings should be consolidated. This gave local governors, the hakims, who often rule with an iron fist--a pretext to seize land and pass it on to cronies or those wealthy enough to offer bribes...This land grab left many farmers landless, jobless and desperately poor. Some have gone back to work what was once their land. Yet there was already a vast surplus of workers, because of a bulge in the working-age population...If Islamist extremists are re-grouping in the Fergana Valeey, they have plenty of discontent to prey on.
This is a reminder that forced and forced child-labor in cotton is enmeshed in a whole command-economic system that is eating away social stability in this part of the world.
Read the whole article here: http://www.economist.com/world/asia/displaystory.cfm?story_id=13837448