Two months after the south-west monsoon season (June-September) hit the Kerala coast, the overall rains so far, with the exception of pockets in southern India, western Uttar Pradesh and Marathawada, have been well distributed, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD). The cumulative rainfall received till Monday across the country was 102% of the benchmark long-period average (LPA). Rainfall in a range of 96-104% of LPA is treated as ‘normal’ and LPA rainfall is pegged at 89 cm, on the basis of average between 1951-2000.
Last month, the Met department has predicted that monsoon seasonal rainfall for the country as a whole is likely to be 98% of the (LPA) with a model error of ±4%. It had predicted in July, which has 33% share in overall monsoon rains would be 96% of its LPA while actual rainfall was 102% of benchmark. Even in the month of June, the average rainfall was 104% of LPA. Thanks to the normal monsoon rains the sowing of kharif crops — rice, pulses, coarse cereals, sugarcane and cotton — is progressing well. Areas sown of key crops, except oilseeds, have been higher than the level at the same time last year, with the overall sowing 3% higher. Till now, 75% of the sowing or 791 lakh hectare is completed and it would continue till middle of next month.On an average, 1058 lakh hectare is covered under kharif crops sowing.
“Reports of submergence in groundnut growing areas of Gujarat and parts of Madhya Pradesh is expected to adversely impact the kharif sowing. However the real impact of excessive rainfall in Saurashtra, Kutch and Gujarat regions on standing crops would be known within next few couple of weeks,” an agriculture ministry official told FE. So far the northwest India has received ‘above normal’ rainfall (118%) and central India is at 109% of LPA. In case of southern peninsula, the rainfall so far has been 83% of LPA (deficient) while in east & north-east region, there has been ‘below normal’ rainfall (92% of LPA).
Especially the rainfall has been ‘deficient’ in south interior Karnataka (66% of LPA), Kerala (70% of LPA) and Tamil Nadu (79% of LPA).Out of the 36 subdivisions in the country, six have received ‘excess’ rainfall while 22 got ‘normal’ rains so far. Only eight have received ‘deficient’ rains. In terms of area, 26% of the country fall in ‘excess’ rainfall zone, 54% has received ‘normal’ monsoon this year while 20% fall in ‘deficient’ rains zone. 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), which is 8.7% more than the previous year. Due to two consecutive years of deficient monsoons (2014 & 2015), the foodgrains production went down to 252 MT in 2014-15 and 2015-16 crop years from 265 MT reported in 2013-14.