After covering the entire country, the south-west monsoon was active over the western, central and eastern parts of the country in the last few days. With the exception of Kerala, south interior Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, the quantum of monsoon rains has been widespread and in ‘normal’ range, bringing cheers to the farming community. According to India Meteorological Department (IMD), the cumulative rainfall received till Sunday across the country was 103% of the benchmark long period average (LPA). Both the north-west and central parts of the country have received ‘excess’ rainfall with 116% and 113% of LPA, respectively. In case of the southern peninsula, rainfall has been 91% of LPA, while in the east and the north-east region, rainfall has been 90% of LPA.
So far, the rainfall has been ‘deficient’ in south interior Karnataka (73% of LPA), Kerala (76% of LPA) and Tamil Nadu (76% of LPA). Out of the 36 subdivision in the country, seven have received ‘excess’ rainfall while 26 got ‘normal’ rains so far. Only three have received ‘deficient’ rains. In terms of area, 25% of the country falls in the ‘excess’ rainfall zone, 67% has received ‘normal’ monsoon this year while 8% falls in the ‘deficient’ rains zone.
The IMD in its forecast has said during July 27-August 2, rainfall is likely to decrease substantially. Meanwhile, private forecaster Skymet said, “Countrywide rainfall will reduce significantly for at least next 10 to 15 days. In fact, the month of August will start with weak monsoon conditions over most parts of the country.” Last month, the met department predicted that the monsoon season (June-September) rainfall for the country as a whole is likely to be 98% of the (LPA) with a model error of ±4%, and showers in July, which has 33% share in overall monsoon rains, would be 96% of the LPA. August, which has 29% share in overall monsoon rains, is expected to receive shower at 99% of the LPA.
Rainfall in a range of 96-104% of the LPA is treated as ‘normal’. The LPA rainfall is pegged at 89 cm on the basis of the average between 1951 and 2000. Thanks to the normal monsoon rains, sowing of kharif crops is progressing well. Areas sown of key crops, except oilseed, have been higher than the level at the same time last year, with the overall sowing 2% higher. Till now, around 64% of sowing is done and it would continue till the middle of the next month. Analysts say unless the monsoon takes a break over the next two weeks, the kharif output is likely be robust.
Because of normal rainfall last year, the country’s food grains production in 2016-17 crop year (July-June) is estimated to reach an all-time record of 273.38 million tonne (MT), 8.7% more than the previous year. Due to two consecutive years of deficient monsoons (2014 & 2015), food grains production went down to 252 MT in 2014-15 and 2015-16 crop years from 265 MT reported in 2013-14.