Heat, rains play havoc with cotton crop

MULTAN: Cotton growers of south Punjab Wednesday urged the government to save their crops as heat and rains have played havoc with their crops. Talking to reporters, the growers said they cannot save their crops from devastations of heart and rains. They said no one is listening their woes.

The south Punjab cotton growing districts received a heavy spell of rains a couple of days back which brought a surge in pest attacks. The growers have observed Thrips, Whitefly, Jessed, pink bollworm and Armyworm pests active destroying their crops. They said now new heat resistant varieties and filtered pesticides are needed.

They said there is no government police against seed mafia and supply of poor quality seed in market. They said poor varieties have failed to resist heat or climatic changes and most of varieties are prone to pest attacks. They expressed fear that recent monsoon rains will bring a new surge in pest attack on the cash crop. Malik Ilyas Arian, a cotton grower of Chak 5 Faiz, said rains are natural and cannot be avoided but their crop injuries can be minimized through better research practices and advancements in pest control technology. The pests are not a big challenge in developed countries as compared with developing countries where the growers are suffering in terms of poor yield and pets attack. The cotton growers said rain and heats have affected growers of Multan division. According to cotton scientists, adult thrips suck liquids from plants and cause immense damage to cotton seedlings. They said the duration and intensity of thrips infestations vary greatly according to season and geographic location, maintain once cotton plants are four to six weeks old, they outgrow thrips damage and recover. Rabnawaz Haraj of Sardarpur, Kabirwala, said he applied pesticides against whitefly and thrips but failed to get desired results due to unchecked sale of adulterated pesticides. Reportedly, the cotton situation in Dera Ghazi Khan division is not ideal due to pest attack, however, the districts did not receive downpour. The south Punjab Kisan Board president Hafiz Hussein Ahmed said pink bollworm and thrips attacks are noticed in Dera Ghazi Khan, Rajanpur and some areas in Muzaffargarh.

Punjab Cotton Research Institute Director Dr Muhammad Sagir said the PCRI is conducting unabated research to develop heat resistant varieties and soon the PCRI would introduce such varieties. He said the PCRI has remarkably developed a variety against pink bollworm and soon the variety would be available for commercial use. However, Dr Sagir refused to disclose the commercial name of variety against pink bollworm and said the successful trials were in progress.

Source: The International News, Pakistan
Thursday, 13 August 2020

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