Heatwave & mango production


Pakistan is a land blessed with four seasons but this year we directly landed from winter into summer without having spring and its allied charms. The shift was abrupt and traumatically shocking, especially in South Punjab which is mostly agrarian belt and food basket of the country.
Scientifically considered as King of Fruits, Mango is the leading fruit crop of Pakistan after Citrus mainly grown in Punjab and Sindh over an area of 99 thousand tons hectares with an annual production of 1322 thousand tons according to Ministry of Ministry of National Food Security and Research data of 2021.
In Punjab, average yield is 13.33 tons per hectare whereas it is 5.57 tons per hectare in Sindh. Population wise the largest province in the country, Punjab is contributing 77 percent of fruit while Sindh produces 23 pc. Mango can be grown in a diversified climate; however, the range of suitable temperature for successful crop production is from 6C to 42C.The temperature beyond this limit may affect plant health and performance. The changing climatic patterns are being observed in recent years which are impacting the crop significantly. Pakistan is facing unexpected drought periods, heat waves, frost spells, hail, wind storms, rains, floods, fog, smog etc. under climate change scenarios.
The high temperatures combined with other conditions such as relative humidity give rise to heat waves that can claim lives of thousands of people destroy crops and damage infrastructure. The Intergovernmental Panel and Climate Change Sixth Assessment Report said that heat waves and humid heat stress will be more intense and frequent in South Asia in this century. Heat wave is a global phenomenon and South Asia is facing it these days, he said, adding that the RMC had compiled data of normal parameters of Punjab Stations for 30 years from 1980-2010 while it was under process by 2020 which is expected to be accomplished within the next five to six months. The data shows that in May average normal max temp of Lahore was 38.8 C, Faisalabad was 39.1 C, Multan was 41 C, Bahawalpur was 41.3 C, and Khanpur was 42 C from 1980-2010. Human beings are no exceptions and also fall prey to harsh weather conditions especially those whose immunity is weak or are suffering from different diseases.
Flowers of the king of fruits shed heavily in March this year as it needed low temperature for it to bloom in this season while it rose above the normal range. During the past years, it was noticed that heat wave in April and May damaged the fruit and affected its quality resulting in burning (black spots) at Safaid Chaunsa facing Sun, splitting and fruit curve in Sindhri, de-shaping of Chaunsa, Dusehri and Anwar Retaul. The heat wave reduced the fruit size in all varieties. The last heat wave on record was in 1962 adding that after 60 years it has once again occurred. Normally, in March, the temperature is between 26-32 C, but this year, it has 44C which is 12 degree centigrade above the normal which made the pollen dead and female flower of mango rusted. Around March 20 hot winds burnt the canopy of the tree too.