According to an order by the Khokim (governor) of the Jizzakh region, public employees of the region have been deployed for the “aeration” of the cotton fields. Every employee has been assigned to walk through one hectare of cultivated cotton. The organizers explained that the “aeration” would strengthen the cotton stems and contribute to a faster growth of the cotton bolls.
As reported by Radio Ozodlik (Uzbek desk of Radio Liberty), all public employees of the region were forced to get involved in this work.
“Currently in the Jizzakh region there is an intensive preparation for the cotton harvest. The Khokim Sayfiddin Ismailov holds meetings twice a day on this matter. The Khokim requested each organization to delegate 20-30 people to walk-through and “aerate” the cotton fields”, said a resident of the area.
The spokesperson of the Jizzakh regional administration, in a conversation with “Ozodlik”, did not deny the practice of “aerating” the cotton fields, but claimed that the public employees were involved in this work on their own volition:
“At the moment, the cotton stems are stuck together. Therefore, the cotton leaves do not get enough oxygen. By “aerating” the cotton, air begins to flow between the stems. This gives the plants the necessary oxygen and contributes to a faster growth of cotton bolls. Each participant was given one hectare of land for this work”, said one of the Khokim’s office employees (who did not introduce himself).