All hopes on July to make up for deficient monsoon

Written by Sandip Das | New Delhi | Updated: Jul 2 2012, 07:03am hrs
With the southwest monsoon showing 23% deficiency in first four weeks of June, agriculture scientists are now pinning hopes on July. Rainfall in July will be crucial for kharif crop such as rice, sugarcane and coarse cereals. Scanty rainfall due to delayed monsoon particularly in the northwest region of the country has already delayed paddy plantation in Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh.

Paddy plantation, especially in key rainfed areas like Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, West Bengal and Bihar, had been delayed by about two to three weeks.

The latest agriculture ministry data indicate rice has been sown in 3.72 million hectare, coarse cereals in 1.04 million hectare, oilseeds in 1.07 mh and sugarcane in 5.2 mh till now.

As we keep a close watch on rains this month, we are preparing a dossier on short-term paddy varieties farmers could take up in case of deficient rains, said the director of Cuttack-based Central Rice Research Institute (CRRI) Trilochan Mohapatra.

Due to deficient rainfall, paddy acreage may fall to 37 million hectare this year against the normal sowing area of 44 million hectare. Last year, when the monsoon was normal, Indias rice production was nearly 103 million tonne. A large chunk of countrys rice production is grown during Kharif (summer) season.

India Meteorological Department (IMD) in its latest report had said out of 36 meteorological sub-divisions, rainfall in June was excess or normal in only 10, deficient in 13 and scanty in 13 sub-divisions. Around 28% area of the country received excess or normal rainfall and rest 72% received deficient or scanty rainfall, IMD report said.

However, the latest IMD prediction says an analysis of meteorological conditions indicate increase in rainfall activity over east, central and also over northwest India due to development of seasonal east-west trough with embedded upper air cyclonic circulation. Conditions would thus become favourable for further advance of monsoon over some more parts of central India and northwest India mainly during second half of the week.

We are still standing by our prediction of normal monsoon this season, said secretary in the ministry of earth sciences Shailesh Nayak.

In its second long term forecast recently, IMD had said rain in July and August period is likely to be 98% & 96% of Long Period Average (LPA) respectively.LPA is calculated on the basis of an average annual rainfall received during 1951-2000, at 89 cm.