Will agriculture face the heat of above normal temperature this summer?

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Published: April 6, 2018 3:22:56 PM

While private weather forecaster Skymet's prediction of a normal monsoon in the current fiscal will come as a welcome relief, the India Meteorological Department has said that most parts of north India can expect an intense heat wave this summer, turning the heat on agriculture.

Will agriculture face the heat of above normal temperature?While the prediction of a normal to above average monsoon will come as a welcome relief for the agriculture sector, the months leading to the rainy season could be crucial. (Image: Reuters)

While private weather forecaster Skymet’s prediction of a normal monsoon in the current fiscal will come as a welcome relief, the India Meteorological Department has said that most parts of north India can expect an intense heat wave this summer, turning the heat on agriculture.

According to IMD’s forecast, the average mean temperatures will remain more than a degree above normal in the months of April, May and June. IMD said that April to June is expected to have the above normal sub-divisional average seasonal temperatures, over most parts of the country except the subdivisions of eastern, east-central and southern parts for the country that are likely to experience slightly below normal seasonal temperatures.

Interestingly, while the prediction of a normal to above average monsoon will come as a welcome relief for the agriculture sector, the months leading to the rainy season could be crucial.

A better than expected monsoon in major agricultural states Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh could spur overall economic growth. According to Maharashtra’s recently released economic survey, the decline in “agriculture and allied activities” in the state has pulled down the state’s economic growth to 7.3% during 2017-18. Finance minister of Maharashtra, Sudhir Mungantiwar said recently that Maharashtra could have achieved a higher growth rate but for the negative growth in the farm sector. “Still, the growth rate of 7.3% in Maharashtra is better than the national growth rate of 6.5%,” said.

Nearly 55% of the country’s overall agricultural land is heavily reliant on the monsoon as it’s rain-fed. Further, the monsoons will also have a bearing on key kharif (summer) crop output. The above normal temperature has often caused heat waves in the country, and various states including Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have seen thousands of reported deaths due to the same. More than  4,500 people have died due to heat-wave between 2013-17, according to government’s data.

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