Central Cotton Research Institute (CCRI) Director Dr Zahid Mahmood said on Wednesday that a climate change phenomenon impacted all important crops of the country negatively
Central Cotton Research Institute (CCRI) Director Dr Zahid Mahmood said on Wednesday that a climate change phenomenon impacted all important crops of the country negatively.
Presiding over a special meeting convened to discuss impact of climate change on crops production and to discuss remedies and measures to check it, he said that all important crops, including maize, rice, sugarcane and cotton, suffered damage at the hands of climate change phenomenon compromising their production.
Discussing cotton, he said that hotter weather conditions and unexpected rains provoked pests particularly white fly and pink bollworm which damaged crops and reduced production.
He said the CCRI Multan would launch a programme the next year to assist and guide farmers and help them out through research body’s breeding material.
He said every farmer could contact the CCRI Multan experts to get information on profitable production technology and obtain certified seed of cotton.
Dr Zahid said that there were the CCRI Multan varieties of cotton that could give higher production amid weather as hot as 50 Celsius. There were also varieties that continue to give good production even if hit by Cotton Leaf Curl Virus (CLCuV).
He said that traits of resistance against virus were being shifted from wild and Desi cotton varieties into new varieties and the initiative was yielding encouraging results.
Techniques of mutation, radiation and biotechnology were being employed to develop virus resistant cotton varieties, he said expressing hope that virus resistant cotton varieties would be available to farmers for general cultivation the next year.
The director said that the cotton research body was also working on biological control of Mealy Bug and got crop friendly pests imported from California (USA). However, these imported pests could not maintain compatibility with the changed habitat. The CCRI Multan, however, discovered recently a local cotton friendly pest identified as ‘Anecious Specie’ that had shown good results, Dr Zahid disclosed.
“Anicious Specie eats a lot of Mealy Bugs,” scientific officer Sajid Mahmood told APP.
The CCRI Multan laboratory work on multiplication of Anicious Species population was in progress that would enable farmers control Mealy Bug without applying spray, Dr Zahid said.