India set for new Kharif sowing record thanks to best monsoon in 26 years; agri still won’t offset weak growth

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September 18, 2020 1:24 PM

India is all set to report record kharif sowing this year even while the country is one of the most impacted nations due to the coronavirus pandemic.

farm bill

India is all set to report record kharif sowing this year even while the country is one of the most impacted nations due to the coronavirus pandemic. “Crop sowing is set to reach record highs, with the area sown so far already at 103% of full season norms,” a Barclays report said on Friday. As of 11th September 2020, the area sown was reported at nearly 110.4 million hectares as opposed to the 104.5 million hectares sown last year for the same period. A favourable monsoon, along with targeted government support, and major reforms in the farm sector are also expected to boost farm output this year.

As the country approaches the last leg of monsoon rainfall, levels remain strong and the cumulative rainfall from 1st June to 17th September stands at a surplus of 7.6% over the long-term average. India has already received 99% of its normal full-season monsoon rainfall and rain showers play a pivotal role in the agricultural landscape. The spatial distribution of monsoon has also been promising this year and only four of the 36 geographical areas received below-normal rainfall. On the other hand, 11 regions also received excess rainfall. Storage levels in the 123 reservoirs, that supply most of the canals in India, also have a major role to play and it stood at 145.8 billion cubic metres, or 85% of capacity. The current level of storage is 116% of the average over the past 10 years.

The sowing season is about to wrap up soon and India also “appears set to finish the monsoon season on a very strong note, probably the strongest in 26 years, based on current progress,” the report said. RBI recently called agriculture the “bright spot” amid all the pandemic gloom as it has been the only sector which showed resilience and growth while all other sectors slumped due to pandemic. Even then, a robust harvest would at most be a “mitigating, but not an offsetting, factor for India’s weak growth profile,” the Barclays report said.

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