Kattha & cutch are extracted from wood of Khair tree. Acacia is the botanical name of this tree and it has different varieties like Acacia Sundra, Acacia Catechuoides & Acacia Catechu. These species of tree are mainly concentrated in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. The preferred locations are either UP or Bihar. Manufacture of Kattha is an important forest-based traditional industry in India. The Central Forest Research Institute has developed an improved process to manufacture kattha and cutch. Manufacture of these products is simple and does not require sophisticated technology or equipments. There are many applications of these products.
Kattha is bitter, acrid and is used in paan and in medicinal and ayurvedic preparations. Cutch is a by-product of kattha and is used as tanning material, as an additive and preservatives by many industries.
Kattha is being produced in the country since long and it is a mass consumption item as it is used in preparation of paan all over the country. It has got medicinal values as well and is used in ayurvedic preparations as it cures itching, indigestion and bronchitis and is very effective in leprosy, ulcer, boils, piles, throat diseases etc. On the other hand, cutch has various industrial applications. It is one of the important sources of vegetable tanning materials, used extensively as an additive to the drilling mud used for oil drilling and for preservation of sailing rods, fishing nets, mail bags etc. Thus, both products are versatile with varied application.
Heart wood of khair or acacia is cut into fine chips and around 8-9 kgs. of chips are kept in wire net cage to avoid direct contact with heated surface of extractor. These cages with about 25-27 ltrs. of water (3 times the weight of chips) are placed in extractors. Extraction is done by boiling chips with water for about 3 hours. Extracts from each extractor are mixed after filtering with the help of muslin cloth and concentrated in an open pan on fire and then kept in shade to facilitate crystalisation of Kattha for about 2 days. After complete crystalisation, the curd like mass is passed through frame and plate-type filter press, operated manually and then it is washed with cold water which improves the quality of kattha. It is then placed on wooden frames provided with canvas cloth to separate traces of cutch. Finally, kattha is cut into uniform tablets with the help of wire cutter or knife and dried in sheds. The mother liquor after removal of kattha is further concentrated in an open pan till it becomes viscous and then poured in wooden frames for drying. The dried material is cutch. About 100 kgs of acacia chips give 5 kgs. of kattha and 14 kgs of cutch. Yield largely depends upon the quality of chips. The process flow chart is as under:
Growth Yield and Management of the Species
The following statement shows the average rate of growth based on the measurements of 14 sample plots ofSaharanpur, Rohilkhand, Ramnagar, Lansdowne, Haldwani, Baharaich and Terai and Bhabar Forest Division of Uttar Pradesh. Average rate of growth Age
The following table shows the total volume (Over Bark) and total volume (Under Bark) in cubic metres.
Volume (Over Bark)
Volume (Under Bark)
(in cubic metre)
(in cubic metre)
The following table gives the yield of Khair for good, moderate and poor site qualities. The table is based on the data of 10 sample plots distributed in Haldwani, Terai & Bhabar, Siwalik, Ramnagar, Lansdowne divisions and Silviculture Nursery at Clutterbuckganj (Bareilly). Age
References: National Forest Library and Information Centre
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