The cumulative rainfall for southwest monsoon this year (July to September) has been 5% less than normal. The distribution has been uneven, with excess rains in some parts and shortage in several other areas like Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and parts of Maharashtra.
This has impacted sowing. As compared with last year, sowing is lower for foodgrains and oilseeds. Even the government’s first advance estimates say that kharif foodgrains production could be 2.8% lower than last year. Oilseed production could drop by around 8%. The decline is also because last year had seen a sharp increase in both the sowing area and production of most crops.
Given the volatility in farm prices, farm income remain stressed. In the three months to June 2017, agriculture GVA slowed to 2.3%, the slowest since March 2016. Kharif crop constitutes around 50% of overall farm output and any shortfall in production will reflect in lower agriculture GVA growth unless it is made up by rabi crops. Also, industries like textiles, edible oils, sugar, seeds, fertilisers, tractors and farm equipment have strong links with agriculture output.
While states like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab have announced farm loan waivers, others may also do so, which will put further pressure on the stressed budget of states.
Reservoir levels are important for rabi crops, the sowing of which starts from October. Water storage at 91 major reservoirs looks healthy, at 87% of normal. However, some states like Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka have deficient water reservoir levels.