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Spring heatwave affects mango crop

MUZAFFARGARH: This summer, the mango crop in south Punjab has declined by 60 per cent, mainly due to an unprecedented spring heatwave.

The loss has triggered an outcry among mango orchard owners, who are demanding financial compensation from the government.

The mango varieties of south Punjab, especially of Multan and Khangarh farms, are popular in Pakistan. The agriculture department issued a press release, saying that according to the Punjab Agriculture Department, Pakistan ranks seventh in the world in terms of area under mango cultivation where its cultivation area is 172,308 acres.

The mango cultivation area in Punjab is 111,432 acres. The overall annual production is two million metric tons, of which Punjab province alone produces more than 1.3 million metric tons.

The press release said that for good flowering of mango, the temperature in March must be 13 to 30 degrees Celsius in the first fortnight, but this year the temperatures on those days hit 40 degrees Celsius.

According to an estimate, due to climate change and rising temperatures, mango production is likely to decrease.

Therefore, to increase the humidity in mango orchards, farmers have been advises not to run rotavator plough, etc, on mango farms.

They keep irrigation intervals of 10 or 12 days. Mango orchards are more prone to thrips and mite infestation due to drought. In case of thrips or mite infestation, gardeners should spray the trees after consulting local agronomists. Also, gardeners should avoid pruning of grass and plants in summer.

Spraying one to 2pc of soluble potash is suggested to increase plant resistance. Correspondent