MUZAFFARGARH

Over 70pc cotton crops have been completely destroyed in flood affected areas of South Punjab as it had been cultivated on 606,654 acres of land with other crops in six districts of Multan and Bahawalpur divisions, officials said.

As the vegetables fields have been swamped, the prices of potato, onion and tomato are feared to considerably increase in the markets. Agricultural experts fear widespread damage to the cotton belt as well as to other plantations. The cotton and vegetables fields in Southern Punjab were submerged with the water of overflowing Chenab River.

Consumers have already started complaining about shortage of commodities in the grain markets.

Talking to this scribe, Directorate of Punjab Agriculture Information Assistant Director Naveed Kahlun said that cotton has been destroyed over 70pc under cultivation area as a result of flash flood.

Over 606,654 acres of cropped areas has largely been affected. The affected fields in South Punjab spread over 103,000 acres in Muzaffargarh, 49,636 acres in Khanewal, 21,025 acres in Bahawalpur and 39,930 acres in Rahim Yar Khan. Experts said that a large number of cattle also perished in the deluge, which may lead to increase in their prices before Eidul Azha, which is less than a month away.

Besides vegetables, the flood havoc has also created shortage of fruits. Venders at the wholesale market said prices have been increased because of dependency in supply from flood-hit areas. The price of onion is touching Rs70 per kg in the market and Sunday bazaars while tomato price has exceeded Rs75-80 per kg.

Local potato continued to retail at Rs65-70 per kg with imported potato recording a rate of Rs63 per kg. Cucumber price jacked up to Rs80 per kg against Rs40-50 while bitter gourd was selling at Rs60 per kg, brinjal price at Rs55, bottle gourd at Rs65, apple gourd at Rs65-70 and lady finger was available at Rs60 per kg.

Farmers said that floods have wreaked havoc in several areas of Punjab, destroying standing crops over hundreds of thousands of acres, killing livestock and washing away thousands of villages, bringing down production of major crops, leading to shortage of food and other commodities besides increase in their prices.