Drought still looms large

Written by Saikat Neogi | Updated: Aug 28 2012, 13:37pm hrs
With 14% below normal rainfall till August 22, 10% of total area is still affected by severe drought

While the cumulative rainfall on an all-India area-weighted basis improved to 14% below normal up to August 22, as compared with 15% below normal as of the week ended August 15, around 26% total area is still affected by moderate drought (26-50% rainfall deficiency). And about 10% of the total area is still affected by severe drought (50% and more rainfall deficiency).

The bulk of the sowing in the country is done by August-end and with 14% below normal rainfall up to August 22, the total sown area is down by 6%, as compared with the same period last year. The adverse impact could be on the GDP growth for the current fiscal, as Morgan Stanley estimates a downside risk of about 30-60 basis points on its 5.8% GDP growth estimates for FY13.

The regions affected by severe drought are primarily rice-growing regions like Punjab and Haryana and cotton-growing regions like Haryana, Punjab and Saurashtra. The sowing of crop area is lower for rice, coarse cereals, pulses, oilseeds and cotton. However, the sowing of crop area is higher for sugarcane year-on-year. The lower area under coverage for pulses and coarse cereals is a key concern for food inflation.