Products derived from cotton fibre
Source: UNCTAD secretariat, drawing upon "Etude relative au mécanisme de formation des prix de cession du coton-graine et des intrants agricoles au Bénin" (Anna Croles-Rees and Bio Goura Soulé Lares, 2001)
Source: Adapted from: "Cotton Facts", International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC), 2003
The major end uses for cotton fibre include wearing apparel, home furnishings, and other industrial uses (such as medical supplies). The cotton fibre is made primarily into yearns and threads for use in the textile and apparel sectors (wearing apparel would account for approximately 60% of cotton consumption). Cotton is also used to make home furnishings, such as draperies (eventually the third major end use) or professional garments (about 5% of cotton fibre demand).
Besides traditional uses and as a result of different finishing processes that have been applied to the cotton fibre, cotton is made into specialty materials suitable for a great variety of uses. Cotton fabrics with specialty applications include, for example, fire-proof (flame resistant) apparel, which is suitable for professional uses and provides effective protection against potential risks associated with high temperature and particularly flashover. Flame resistant cotton fabrics are treated with chemicals. Without chemical treatment, cotton would burn up releasing very strong heat, just like the major part of synthetic fibres, which melt when they are exposed to high temperatures.
Cotton also finds specialty applications in medical and hygienic uses. Most notably, the fibre is used to manufacture hydrophile cotton (cotton wool), compress, gauze bandages, tampons or sanitary towels, and cotton swabs. In this field, the most suitable cotton variety is the species Gossypium herbaceum with short-staple thick fibres.
See, in particular: Modified Fibers with Medical and Specialty Applications
One development that will most likely affect cotton consumption patterns is the marketing of coloured fibres tailored to the needs of the textile industry. Substantial technological advances have taken place in this area. According to the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research in Burkina Faso: "... In China for example, one does not make any more dyeing. China uses transgenic cotton plants which produce yellow, white, green, or red cotton; to sum up, any customised colour grade...".
Source : UNCTAD secretariat (Data: "Statistiche 2002 Italia E Mondo," Associazione Tessile Italiana, October 2003)
Cotton demand is strongly influenced by comparative prices vis-à-vis man-made fibres (artificial and synthetic fibres). Artificial fibres (like viscose rayon and acetates) are made from organic polymers derived from natural raw materials, mainly cellulose. Synthetic fibres (including acrylics, polyamides, and polyesters) are generally derived from petrochemicals petroleum products.
From the beginning of the 20th century until the end of the second world war (WWII) cotton had accounted for 81% of world total fibre consumption. A shift occurred in the 1940s, when man-made fibres first appeared in the market (accounting for 12% of the world's total fibre consumption over the 1940s). As from the 1960s, with a deepening of the trend since 1970, decline in cotton consumption has become more prominent. The ratio of cotton in the fibre market decreased from 75% in 1940 to 68% in 1960. In 1970 cotton accounted for 57% of textile fibres. Since the early 2000s, cotton has accounted for roughly 39% of world fibre consumption. By contrast, the share of synthetic fibres rose to 58%, up from 5% in 1960.
For further information concerning weaving, refer to the following website: Weaving, how does it go?: Tenthorey S.With.
The seed coat (hull)
Source: Adapted from "Cotton Facts", ICAC (2003)
Cottonseed oil is mechanically extracted from the cottonseed by means of screw or press (about the two thirds of cotton seeds which generally contain around 18% of oil are used to extract cottonseed oil). According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) statistics (December 2008), cottonseed oil ranked fifth in production among vegetable oils in the 2007/08 crop season with a bit less than 4% of world volumes.
World production of vegetable oils
Source: Oilseeds: World Markets and Trade, USDA, FAS, Decembre 2008
In many West ans Central African countries, cottonseed oil (used as oil or margarine) provides the main source of fat and oil supply and has several food applications. Actually, according to FAO statistics, it can be considered that only 3% to 5% of the African cottonseed oil production has effectively been exported over the 2000-2005 period. Cottonseed oil may also be further refined for use in soaps and cosmetics.
Cottonseeds hulls have also been used to provide roughage
in animal feed. The remains of the seed after the oil has been extracted
can also be rendered as flours for livestock feed. Whereas these usages
refer to animal consumption, research is being conducted to develop
new uses for cottonseed derivatives in human diet. Major achievements
in this direction include:
After the oil has been extracted from the cottonseed, the residue (i.e. cottonseed meal) is high in proteins (about 40%). It is usually marketed for animal feed, although it can have other usages (see the figure below).
Source: Adapted from: "Cotton Facts", ICAC (2003)