Monsoon rainfall during August-September period is expected to be in the ‘normal’ range, India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Monday. While predicting ‘normal’ to ‘above normal’ rainfall over the most parts of south, west, central and northwest regions, IMD predicted ‘below normal’ rainfall over parts of east and northeast regions in the next two months.
This could adversely impact rice sowing activities in key growing states in eastern regions. Rice sowing in the ongoing kharif season was 23.15 million hectare (MH) till last week, which was 13% less than the year ago level. “Rainfall over the country during the August-September period of southwest monsoon season is most likely to be ‘normal’ — 94 to 106% of long period average (LPA),” IMD said.
The rainfall deficiency in the east and northeast region has been 14% so far, while the cumulative rainfall received in all the four regions during June 1-August 1 was 487 mm, which was 7% more than (above normal) the LPA of 454 mm for the same period. Deficient rainfall in Uttar Pradesh (46%), Jharkhand (49%), Bihar (36%) and West Bengal (24%) so far against the benchmark has adversely impacted rice sowing.
“In case of Bihar and Jharkhand, we expect below normal rainfall, while West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh could get normal rainfall, thus reducing the current deficiency in the next two months,” Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, Director General, IMD said.Lower areas under paddy have been reported from states including West Bengal (1.6 MH), Uttar Pradesh (0.6 MH), Bihar (0.5 MH) and Jharkhand (0.4 MH).
According to BV Krishna Rao, president, Rice Exporters Association, prices of preferred varieties of rice such as Sona masoori and Ponni in the domestic market have witnessed an increase of around 15% in the last two months because of lower sowing.However, officials say, the country may not face any shortage of the staple grain, as rice sowing in Punjab, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Odisha have been more than last year.
Central India, south peninsula and northwest regions have received 15%, 28% and 4% more rainfall, respectively than LPA till Monday which has given a boost to sowing of kharif crops such pulses, oilseeds and coarse cereals, sugar and cotton. Overall summer crops including paddy, pulses, oilseeds, coarse cereals, sugarcane and cotton have been sown in 82.34 million hectare so far, about 2% higher than the corresponding period last year. The kharif crops sowing are expected to continue till the middle of August.
In April, 2022, the government had set a record foodgrain production target of 328 million tonne (MT) in the 2022-23 crop year (July-June) against 314 MT of production in 2021-22.Rice production target of 112 MT in the ongoing kharif season of the 2022-23 crop year (July-June).
As many as 29 out of the country’s 36 meteorological subdivisions recorded rainfall in the range of normal (96-104%), above normal (104-110%) and excess (110% and above) range against the LPA. Only 7 subdivisions have received deficient rainfall this monsoon seasonThe adequate and well distributed rainfall during monsoon months (June-September) helps in boosting kharif crop production besides ensuring sufficient moisture for the rabi or winter crops.
IMD on Monday predicted heavy rainfall over Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Punjab, west Rajasthan, Odisha, West Bengal, Rayalaseema, Kerala Himachal Pradesh, west Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Arunachal Pradesh , Telangana and south interior Karnataka.