Monsoon mayhem: Will IMD forecast save the season?

By: | Updated: June 25, 2016 5:34 PM

According to agriculture ministry data released on Friday, kharif sowing so far has been 23% 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.

monsoon-reu-LAccording to agriculture ministry data released on Friday, kharif sowing so far has been 23% 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. (Reuters)

With the unswerving more than average rainfall in the last couple of days, the monsson deficiency has reduced to 15% till Friday, ensuring an expected boost to the sowing of kharif crop which had been delayed due to late monsoon arrival.

The sowing of kharif crops has been 23% lower than last year while the 91 large reservoirs have dreadful water levels of 15% of their installed capacity.

The sowing of rice, pulses and oilseeds have also got delayed.

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“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 recently.

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The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has stated that the quantum of rainfall during June 1-24 has been 99.7 milimeters (mm), only 15% less than benchmark long-period average. The monsoon had hit the Kerala coast only on June 8 against the usual date of June 1. “The monsoon has picked up pace in the last one week, which has pulled down the overall deficiency of 26% reported a week back to only 15% now,” an IMD official told FE.

However because of scanty rainfall received in key oilseeds growing areas of Rajasthan and Gujarat so far, the oilseeds sowing have been down by close to 75% to only 6.9 lakh hectare against 27.8 lakh hectare of sowing reported during same period last year. In case of cotton also the kharif sowing till now is down by more than 45% to 19 lakh hectare from 34.8 lakh hectare reported a year ago.

“The conditions are becoming favourable for further advance of southwest monsoon into some more parts of Gujarat, remaining parts of west Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and parts of Haryana, Punjab, Delhi and east Rajasthan during next 3 – 4 days,” IMD said in its latest statement.

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The progress of the monsoon during next couple of weeks would be keenly monitored as the rains are expected to enter areas growing pulses (moong, tur or arhar and chana) and oilseeds (groundnut and soyabean) in Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. “The kharif sowing would pick up pace in the rain-fed regions as the monsoon progresses. With the expectation of normal monsoon rains this year, the sowing will be much more than the last two years, especially in crops like pulses, oilseeds and coarse grains,” said Ajay Jakhar, chairman, Bharat Krishak Samaj.

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’ rainfall 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.

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