Cotton is a soft, feathery fiber that grows in a ball, or protective capsule, around the seeds of cotton plants. It belongs to the genus Gossypium. The fiber is almost cellulose. Under natural conditions, the cotton ball tends to increase the dispersion of the seeds. It is a shrub and grows around the world in nearly 80 countries like parts of America, Africa, India etc. The world produces around 25 million tones of cotton every year. Out of which countries like – China, Brazil, India Pakistan, the USA and Uzbekistan – account for more than 80% of total production.

It is one of the world’s most widely produced crops and uses about 2.5% of the world’s arable land area. The fibre length of cotton plants generally varies from 10 to 65 mm and it has a diameter ranging from 11 to 22 microns. Successful cultivation of cotton requires a long frost-free period, plenty of sunshine, and a moderate rainfall, usually from 600 to 1200 mm (24 to 48 inches). Nowadays a large proportion of cotton is grown in areas without heavy rainfall but having water from irrigation. Harvesting of the crop is generally done by mechanical process in most of its producing countries. Harvesting is done by a cotton picker that removes the cotton from the boll without damaging the cotton plant, or by a cotton stripper, which strips the entire boll off the plant.

Cotton has a wide dimension of its use. Apart from its vast usage in the textile industry, it is also used in the making of fishing nets, coffee filters, tents, explosives manufacture, cotton paper, and in bookbinding. The first Chinese paper was made of cotton fiber. Fire hoses were once made of cotton. It is also used as a suitable material for a great variety of applications: fire-proof apparel, cotton wool, compresses, gauges, bandages, sanitary towels, industrial thread and tarpaulins.