India’s monsoon rainfall was 6.5% higher than normal in the June-September season, as excessive precipitation in central and southern areas offset deficits in eastern and northern states, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Friday. The official weather forecaster had predicted a 3% surplus rainfall for the season.
However, distribution of monsoon rainfall across the country remained uneven, impacting some kharif crops, especially paddy in key growing regions of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal.
According to the IMD, the cumulative monsoon rainfall received in all the four regions during the four-month season was 925 mm.
The rainfall deficiency in the east and north-east has been 18% against the benchmark while central India, the south peninsula, north-west regions have received 19%, 22% and 1% more rainfall than the LPA.
The states with the highest rainfall deficiency include Uttar Pradesh (28%), Bihar (31%), Jharkhand (21%), Manipur (47%) and Mizoram (22%).
This kharif season there has been 4.7% less area under paddy sowing because of deficient rainfall received in the key rice growing states – Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal. Area under paddy in West Bengal, the largest rice-producing state, was down by 8.6% on year.
India’s rice production in the current kharif season for the 2022-23 crop year (July-June) is expected to decline by around 6% to 104.99 million tonne (mt) against 111.76 mt in 2021-22, according to the first advance estimate of foodgrain production released by agriculture ministry recently.
States which received surplus rainfall against the benchmark include Telangana (46%), Tamil Nadu (45%), Rajasthan (36%), Karnataka (40%), Gujarat (27%), Madhya Pradesh (23%) and Maharashtra (23%).
The Met department said that 508 districts (72%) of 703 districts have received normal to excess rainfall over benchmark while rest of districts have received deficient rainfall in this monsoon season.
The country received 16.8% more rainfall than the LPA in July, wiping out June’s deficit of 8%. In August and September, monsoon rains were 3.5% and 8% more than the LPA.
In May, the IMD, in its second long-range forecast, had stated that the country will receive a ‘normal’ southwest monsoon of 3% above the benchmark.
“We are fairly accurate in predicting monsoon, however we could not accurately predict monsoon shortfall in eastern states,” M Mohapatra, Director General, IMD, told FE.
LPA is the average rainfall (June-Sept) calculated for the 1971-2020 period, which is 87 cm
Adequate monsoon ensures kharif sowing and a higher harvest, which in turn helps put a lid on food inflation by increasing domestic production of various agricultural commodities including foodgrain.
Monsoon rainfall deviation of less than (-) 10% of LPA is considered ‘deficient; (-) 10 – 5% of LPA is considered ‘below normal’; (-) 4% to 4% is ‘normal’; 4 to 10% is considered ‘above normal and over 10% of LPA is considered ‘excess’.
Meanwhile, IMD has predicted normal rainfall for northeast monsoon season (October-December) over the south Peninsular India consisting of meteorological subdivisions – Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Coastal Andhra Pradesh, Rayalaseema, Kerala and South Interior Karnataka.