India: Below-average rainfall in Jun 18 reduces crop planting by 21%

  • The monsoon’s progress in June has been rapid but erratic, falling 5% below average in the first month of the season and obstructing the planting of kharif, or summer sown crops, particularly pulses and oilseeds.
  • The southwest monsoon arrived with a bang and drenched southern India and western states such as Maharashtra with heavy rain, after which it took a nearly two-week break before swiftly advancing towards the north to cover the entire country by the end-Jun 18, 15 days before it usually does.
  • Erratic rainfall has reduced crop planting by 21% to 16.52 million hectares, although experts say that it is still very early days of the planting season, and farmers can quickly plant crops as soon as rainfall improves.
  • Normally, by this time of the year about 22.5 million hectares are planted. Planting, however, is likely to pick up pace now that the monsoon has covered the entire country.
  • Close to 106 million hectares are planted under kharif crops every year, and farmers continue to sow crops till mid- Jul 18.
  • So far, farmers have sown a significantly lower area under cotton (14% less y/y) and oilseeds (11.5% less), agriculture ministry data showed.
  • The only crop where planting is above normal is sugarcane with 5 million hectares covered so far compared to the five-year average of 4.5 million hectares. Planting of soya bean is 7% lower y/y, while that of groundnut is 5% lower y/y.
  • The monsoon did improve after the mid-Jun 18 hiatus, reducing the deficit from 12% to 5%. However, planting of some crops has lagged. The area under pulses is down 41% at 1.07 million hectares.
  • The weather office has forecast normal rainfall in the next two weeks although the seasonal rainfall deficit has expanded to 7% as of 1 Jul 18 because rainfall in the past 24 hours was 38% below average.
  • Rainfall remained patchy in Jun 18 as only south peninsula and northwest India recorded above normal rainfall measuring up to 16%. East and northeast India recorded 27% below normal rainfall while central India saw rainfall measuring up to 3% below normal levels.
  • The weather office is expecting normal rainfall in Jul 18, but independent forecasters have flagged concerns over anomalies in rainfall distribution during Jul 18 and Aug 18, which are supposed to be agriculturally most crucial. Meanwhile, El Nino, feared to be forming around Sep 18, could impact the rainfall scenario.
  • IMD expects normal to above normal rainfall in most parts of the country barring central and adjoining east India through the middle of this week. From 5 Jul 18, however, rainfall is expected to increase over most parts of the country, the weather office said.
  • India receives 70% of its annual rainfall in the 3Q18 monsoon season. FY19’s monsoon performance assumes particular importance, ahead of 2019’s general election.

External Link: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/agriculture/below-average-rainfall-in-june-reduces-crop-planting-by-21/articleshow/64820744.cms

External Link: https://www.livemint.com/Politics/NQDhjr4tfOqJzp3Vw1mzEL/Monsoon-update-Rainfall-covers-entire-country-17-days-ahea.html

2-Jul-2018


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