Cotton is one of the most important commercial crops in India. Currently its production is 16.8 million bales. Cotton has to undergo the process of ginning and bailing before it is sent to the textile industry which occupies an important place in Indian economy, in relation to the employment generation and to the export earnings. The cotton plant has got several applications in the cotton based industries.
Thus it can be seen that by products of cotton has important applications other than the cotton textile industry, the uses of by products of cotton are given as follows: -
Attempts should also be made to explore the commercial use of cotton by products such as cottonseed oil, proteins and even stalks in paper and cardboard making which will enhance the economic returns to cotton farmers. Partial mechanization of picking in the northern zone and stubble removal in the central zone will help in timely operationalisation and cost reduction
At present only 50-60% of the total cotton seed production is reported to be utilised for oil extraction through decortication while the bulk is used undecorticated and the oil recovery is 16.5% in the former compared to just 11% in the latter and the cake of the former has only 1-2% oil against 5-6% of the latter. In the past few decades, isolation and detoxification of the major edible oilseeds in the developed world and is being slowly accepted in India too. Besides edible oil production, the seeds are used as raw material in many other industries. Seeds are used to extract oil, which is then used in the soaps and the lubricants and also for the hydrogenation.
The straw is used in the paper as well as the packaging industries and also as a source of fuel.
The deoiled cakes are used as the cattle feed and also as manure.
Thus the cotton industry can form the anchor activity for the development of an industrial complex working towards the integrated rural development.