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Cotton yield impacted by flood & virus attack - PCGA
08
Sep '08
The Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) has reported that the overall size of cotton crop has reduced by a gigantic 16 percent due to heavy rains and virus attack which have also adversely affected the quality of the cotton this season.

Major cotton growing areas in Punjab have been damaged due to floods, mealy bug attack and Cotton Leaf Curl Virus (CLCV). Karachi Cotton Association (KCA) has estimated that about 48 percent crop grown on more than 200,000 acre of land has been affected adversely because of wet conditions in the flooded Ranjanpur and adjoining cotton areas and which did not allow growers to spray their crops on time.

It was informed that while 25 percent of cop in Multan and Vehari has been totally damaged after the mealy bug attack, nearly 26 percent crop in Multan, Vehari, Mazzafar Garh, Sahiwal, Pakpattan and adjoining areas has been affected.

CLCV alone damaged about 26 percent crop in Punjab while in Sindh some 15 percent of cotton crop was under virus attack and farmers miserably failed to prevent mealy bug and CLCV attacks.

Moreover, uncertified BT cotton seeds resulting in lower volume and inferior quality of yield are also posing serious threats to the farmers in the region. Experts have observed that lack of expertise in fighting cotton viruses and overcoming heavy rainfall have affected around 25 percent of crop in the interior Sindh and nearby areas including Sanghar, Tando Muhammad Khan, Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas, Badin and Umerkot.

This apart, regions like Digri, Naukot, Sukkur, Khairpur and Nawabshah, where 90 percent of BT cotton crop was sown is presently prone to an attack of mealy bug and reddening of leaf.

Target for season 2007-08 was set at 14.4 million cotton bales by the Government, out of which, the country was able to achieve only 11.8 million bales. This year however, the target has been revised and brought down to 14.11 million bales.

Experts have anticipated a yield of 11 million bales from Punjab and another 3 million bales from Sindh. The country undertakes 45 percent of the total cotton cultivation under BT variety which shows its growing dependence on genetically modified seeds for increasing yield per acre.

It is highly unlikely that Pakistan would achieve the next cotton crop target unless immediate remedial measures are undertaken to bring control over the situation, like production of quality seeds, supply of reliable inputs and uninterrupted availability of water.

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