India to get ‘above normal’ monsoon rains in next two months, to boost agriculture


India to get ‘above normal’ monsoon rains in next two months, to boost agriculture

Our bureau
New Delhi, Aug 1:

With most parts of the country getting ‘normal’ or ‘excess’ rainfall during first half of monsoon season (June-July), India Meteorological Department (IMD) today stated that rainfall during second half (August – September) would be ‘above normal’ at 107% of benchmark – Long Period Average (LPA), with a model error of ± 8%.

The met department also reiterated its June’s forecast by stating that overall rainfall during monsoon season (June-September) will be 106% of LPA which is set to give huge boost to kharif agricultural activities following two successive years of ‘deficient’ monsoon (2014 & 2015).

IMD also stated that the quantum of rainfall during the month of August is likely to be 104% of LPA as was the forecast in June. Meanwhile, IMD has correctly predicted the quantum of rainfall for the month of July which ended with a rain surplus of 107% of LPA.

According to IMD, the quantum of rainfall during June 1-July 31 has been more than 454 milimeters (mm) which is at par with the benchmark. Till now, 30% of the country’s area has got ‘excess’ rainfall while 49% have received ‘normal’ rainfall. Only 21% of the areas have received deficient rainfall. With the exception of Saurashtra, Kutch, Gujarat regions and Bihar where rainfall has been ‘deficient’, most of the regions across the country has so far received ‘normal’ or ‘excess’ monsoon rainfall in the country

According to a met department statement, the strong El Nino event, which causes deficient rainfall in 2015 has ended in May, 2016 and is currently at ‘neutral’ conditions. It said that there is strong probability of El Nino neutral conditions to continue during remaining two months of the monsoon season. “However, some of the global models suggest development of weak La Nina conditions in the later part of the monsoon season,” an IMD statement said.

While June rainfall constitute 18% of the total rainfall received during monsoon period, the showers during July (33%) and August (29%) are critical for kharif crops sowing. Till last week, the kharif crops sowing have surpassed last year’s sowing by more than 6%. Besides a decline in cotton sowing, most of the key kharif crops – rice, oilseeds and pulses cultivation have exceeded last year’s figure. Especially pulses have been taken up more than 41% more areas than the previous year.

The agriculture ministry has set the country’s grain production target at 270.10 million tonnes (MT) for the 2016-17 crop year (July-June), up 6.7% from the actual grain production of 253.23 MT in 2015-16.

“With the adequate rainfall, our reservoirs have started to fill up and we will help providing adequate water for next rabi season as well,” Ashok Gulati, former chairman, Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP)said.

Meanwhile, according to data released by Central Water Commission (CWC), the water level at 91 large reservoirs across the country continues to rise for third week in a row to 38% of their combined capacity. However, CWC said in a statement last week that the overall storage position is less than the corresponding period of last year in the country as a whole and is also less than the average storage of last ten years during the corresponding period.
The agriculture which contributes about 15% of the country’s GDP and employs about 55 to 60% of the country’s population. The sector is also heavily dependent on the monsoon as only around 45% of the cultivable area is under irrigation. Thus whenever monsoon rains have been normal or above normal, it has direct impact on the foodgrains production.

IMD categories monsoon rains under four categories — <90% of benchmark (deficient), 90-96% (below normal), 96-104% (normal) and 104-110% (above normal) and 110%> (excess)