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India's Monsoon 20% Below Normal So Far; Southern States Receive Adequate Rain

17 Jun 2024 4:21 pm
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MUMBAI, 17 Jun (Commoditiescontrol): India's monsoon season has delivered 20% less rainfall than usual so far, a concerning development for the country's crucial agricultural sector, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Monday.

Typically, the monsoon begins in the southern regions around June 1 and spreads nationwide by July 8, enabling farmers to plant essential crops such as rice, cotton, soybeans, and sugarcane. However, data from the IMD indicates that since June 1, rainfall has been significantly below normal across most regions, with only a few southern states receiving adequate precipitation. Some northwestern states are also grappling with severe heat waves.

The central regions, vital for soybean, cotton, sugarcane, and pulses cultivation, have experienced a 29% shortfall in rainfall. Conversely, the southern region, known for paddy cultivation, has benefited from the early onset of the monsoon, receiving 17% more rainfall than usual. The northeast has seen a 20% deficit, and the northwest is facing a drastic 68% reduction in rainfall.

The monsoon is critical to India’s nearly $3.5 trillion economy, providing about 70% of the rain needed to water farms and refill reservoirs and aquifers. Nearly half of India's farmland, crucial for the production of rice, wheat, and sugar, relies on these rains, especially in the absence of irrigation.

"The monsoon's progress is stalled. It has weakened. But when it revives and becomes active, it can erase the rain deficit in a short burst," an IMD official, who requested anonymity, explained.

Heat wave conditions are expected to persist in the northern states for a few more days, but temperatures might start decreasing over the weekend, the official added. Currently, temperatures in these states range between 42 and 47.6 degrees Celsius (107.6 to 117.7 degrees Fahrenheit), about 4-9 degrees Celsius above normal, according to IMD data.

The delayed and deficient monsoon poses a significant challenge to farmers and could impact India's overall economic growth. The situation underscores the importance of timely and adequate rainfall for the agricultural sector, which remains a cornerstone of the country's economy.

(By Commoditiescontrol Bureau; +91 98201 3018)

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