Cotton Linters are produced in the organized sector mainly around Guntur in Andhra Pradesh mostly by members of the All India Cottonseed Crushers Association (herein referred to as 'Association'). Small quantity of cotton linters is reported being produced mainly in Punjab in an unorganized sector. It is estimated that total of about 10000 to 15000 tons of cotton linters every year out of which witch major share is contributed by member of the Association in all over the india. Cotton short fiber is used for manufacturing specific types of cotton clothes, carpets, curtains, etc. Today each people require wearing their dresses. Therefore demand of cotton is too much and even it can be exported in other countries also. Moreover the cotton seed fibers are used as chemical fibers i.e. Viscose fibers, knitwear, bat wool, medical absorbent cotton, fine papers i.e. Blueprint for military use, bank notes, stamp, nitrated cellulose i.e. smoke less powder, photographic films, cellulose acetate i.e. Paint, plastic, non-shattering glass, imitation wool etc., FPPD additives i.e. ice cream, etc.
The major buyers of linters for internal consumption are also our ordnance factories, Ministry of Defense, Government of India. They are using cotton linters for production of propellants used for gun ammunition and also for various missiles. For production of propellants, one of the basic explosive is Nitrocellulose (NC). Basic raw material for production of nitrocellulose (NC) is bleached cotton linters(BOL) which is produced out of raw cotton linters after processing. The defence requirement ranges from 2500 to 4000 tones annually. The rest of the linters production is generally exported, either directly by the producer member of this association or merchant exporter. Cotton Linter is the prized item of export. Last year, 2007-08, is considered as a landmark year for export of Cotton Linters. In the year 2005-06, India exported record of 16654 tonnes of cotton linters. This year, it is expecting to surpass this record. In fact, at present, cotton linters are virtually not available to meet the growing external demand. As a result, the prices have hardened.
Cotton is a cash crop and therefore, value addition is crucial. 'Linters' is product which plays an important role in value addition. It is also in the national interest that we produce more linters since delinted seeds give better and more oil, besides other advantages. It is high time the export of cotton linters is included in the Videshi Krishi and Gram Udyog Yojna (VGUY) of the Government to provide required incentive to boost export of cotton linters. Popularity of Indian Linters in the export market can be gauged from the fact that there are reported overseas enquiries to establish an exclusive delinting plant in India to export entire production of linters.
International trading of cattle feed generally takes price on the protein content and not on oil content, contrary to general practice followed in India. Cottonseed cake (U.D. Cake) which is our major product with oil content as high as about 7% is generally not traded in the international market. However, there is a demand for cottonseed extraction (meal) in the international market due to high protein content (about 40 to 42%) with almost nil oil content. A small quantity of cottonseed mean (about 1098 tonnes) was exported during last year (upto December 2007) as compared to 9398 tonnes in 2006-07 and 5529 tonnes during 2005-07. High internal prices, vis-vis international prices and the problem of Gosspyol is limiting the export of cottonseed meal. It seems expedient to evolve a simple less expensive technique operation able at the plant level to reduce gosspyol content. Once the gosspyol content is controlled, cottonseed meal can also be used both as fish and poultry feed for which there is international demand. At present, only Soyameal has been brought under Videshi Krishi and Gram Uldyog Yojaan (V.G.U.Y) for financial incentive for export. It is urgently necessary to bring not only cottonseed meal but also other meals under the above scheme. The proposal has already been submitted to the Govt. of India in this respect by oilseed trade and industry. Cottonseed meal is an end product of scientific processing of cottonseed. At present, only 5% of the cotton seed is processed scientifically and as a consequence, the country is losing by-products worth about Rs. 4400 crores every year. Increased export of cottonseed meal will provide boost to scientific processing which in turn will reduce the recurring National loss of valuable by-products including precious cottonseed oil.
Export of vegetable oil has recently been banned. However, even otherwise, cottonseed oil is generally not exported barring negligible quantity of about 1000 to 3000 tonnes per year. Our prices are higher as compared to prices of Palm oil and Soyabean oil which are traded extensively in the international oil market.
Cotton Hulls are outer covering of cottonseeds. Hulls are used as roughagein cattle feed, for diluting high protein cakes and extraction in the manufacture of compound cattle feed, for reducing very high protein decorticated cottonseed meal/extraction (48-50%) to the normal standard quality mean (40 to 41% protein), used in Petroleum drilling operations for filling the drilled holes to avoid caving in, for production of chemicals like furfural etc.
The Cottonseed Hulls are bulky in nature but with lesser weight resulting to occupy more space and also it affect the phenomenal hike in transportation cost from one place to another place. To reduce such logistics cost, need to evolve and adopt some technical methods to compress and compact the Hulls, so that Indian Hulls can also be competitive in the International Market.