Friday, May 24, 2024

Anticipated above-normal Southwest monsoon brings hope for India’s agricultural sector: Geojit report


NEW DELHI: Multiple meteorological organizations are anticipating abundant rainfall during this year’s southwest monsoon season in the Indian subcontinent.
According to Geojit insights, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) expects above-normal rainfall, with the total from June to September anticipated to be 106 per cent of the long-period average.
Private forecaster Skymet Weather Services and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Climate Centre have echoed similar forecasts.
Last year, the southwest monsoon ended with a 6 per cent deficit of the long-period average, mainly due to El Nino, resulting in wide spatial and temporal variations in rainfall distribution.
However, regions that generally receive good rainfall experienced shortages, while dry regions like West Rajasthan and Saurashtra-Kutch received bountiful rainfall.
Out of the total 36 meteorological subdivisions, 7 subdivisions, including Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, and Tripura, experienced deficient rainfall.
The forecast of normal monsoon rains this year comes as a relief at a time when agricultural output is declining, and food inflation remains high, exacerbated by dwindling water levels in reservoirs.
Slow growth in agriculture is mainly attributed to declining farm output, with food grain production expected to decline by six percent in 2023-24.
The deficient monsoons last year and warmer, drier weather due to El Nino have left considerable impact on water levels in reservoirs across the country.
Currently, reservoir storage stands at 31 per cent of the total live storage capacity, significantly lower than the 10-year average.
With the summer approaching its peak, the situation in southern India, where reservoir levels are critically low, has worsened, increasing the threat of drought.
Apart from affecting standing crops and agricultural productivity, dwindling water levels could impact other sectors as well.
The prediction of normal monsoons this year brings hope for boosting the production of kharif crops such as rice, soybean, sugarcane, and pulses, cooling down food inflationary pressures, and replenishing water resources.
However, the arrival, distribution, intensity, and departure of the monsoon remain crucial factors that will impact agricultural production and productivity.
Skymet expects good rainfall in southern, western, and northwestern parts of the country, with Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh expected to receive adequate rainfall.
However, eastern states like Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, and West Bengal may face the risk of deficit rainfall during peak monsoon months, impacting kharif crops heavily dependent on early rainfall.
Additionally, heavy showers during the latter half of the monsoon season may pose a threat to standing crops across the country.

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