ISLAMABAD  – It is estimated that Pakistan loses over 2.3 million cotton bales every year due to Cotton Leaf Curl Virus (CLCV), which is considered to be the one of the top reasons of Pakistan’s low cotton yield, especially in Punjab.

An official on the condition of anonymity told Online Saturday that CLCV was a deadly virus that is transmitted by small insect called white fly: a sucking pest of cotton and vegetables. The vector transmits virus into several other hosts plants like weeds and vegetables for multiplication during the season when cotton is not in fields.

“The virus creates symptom of thick leathery leaves, stunted growth and significantly reduced flowering and boll formation, said the official, adding that the virus was first noticed in Multan area in 1987, and during crop season 1993 it spread on area of over one million ha, and caused a serious setback to our economy.

The official further told that Pakistani researchers had developed varieties with resistance soon after its devastating loss, in 1996, but this virus like many others has tendency of changing its structure and it reappeared with new type called Bhurewala type in 2001 in Bhurewala and new type spread all over the cotton area in subsequent years. Since then, no promising breakthrough has been done.

“Several groups are working in country’s high tech labs in collaboration with international institutions renowned in virology. It is hoped that sooner there would be good news and our cotton will prosper.” added the official.