In a relief to farmers, the southwest monsoon has advanced into Goa, parts of Konkan and drought-hit central Maharashtra, Marathwada and Vidarbha. It has also covered parts of east Madhya Pradesh, southeast Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and remaining parts of north interior Karnataka, Telangana, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand during the last 24 hours.
Experts say that the advancement of monsoon into central and eastern regions would boost kharif sowing activities in the key areas growing pulses, oilseeds and paddy.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has stated that the quantum of rainfall during June 1-June 18 has been 59.7 mm against the normal range of 78.7 mm thus making it 24% less than the benchmark. However, a Met department official said that the monsoon had entered Kerala coast only on June 8 against the usual date of June 1, thus showing a large deviation from normal benchmark.
“Conditions are favourable for further advance of southwest monsoon into remaining parts of Konkan, Marathwada, Vidarbha, Madhya Maharashtra, east Madhya Pradesh and parts of Uttar Pradesh and west Madhya Pradesh during next 48 hours,” IMD said in a statement on Sunday.
Meanwhile, private weather forecaster Skymet said that during last 24 hours, fairly widespread rains have occurred over the east coast, south Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Maharashtra, Telangana, east Madhya Pradesh, Northeast states and in the west coast including Karnataka.
The progress of the monsoon during next couple of weeks would be keenly monitored as the rains are expected to cover areas growing pulses (moong, tur or arhar and chana) and oilseeds (groundnut and soyabean) in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh.
According to agriculture ministry data released last week, kharif sowing so far has been 10% lower than in the corresponding period last year, while water levels at the 91 large reservoirs have fallen to an abysmal 15% of their combined installed capacity. The sowing of rice, pulses and oilseeds have got delayed.
“A week’s or 10 days’ delay in the monsoon would not adversely impact the kharif sowing and output, as the rains are expected to pick up pace as predicted by Met department shortly,” Ashok Gulati, former chairman, Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices, had told FE.
After two successive years of deficient monsoon (2014 and 2015), IMD earlier in the month had reiterated its April prediction by stating that southwest monsoon would be ‘above normal’ at 106% of the benchmark LPA, with a model error of ± 4%. The heartening part of the IMD’s forecast was that there is 96% probability of monsoon (June-September) being normal or excess.
The agriculture ministry has also set the country’s grain production target at 270.10 million tonne (MT) for the 2016-17 crop year (July-June), up 6.7% from the actual grain production of 253.23 MT in 2015-16.