Indian monsoon ‘above normal’ in first two months; Kharif sowing slower than last year

Excess southwest monsoon in July has pushed the overall rainfall received in the country to the ‘above normal’ level since June 1, though the eastern and north-eastern regions have received ‘deficient’ rains so far.

According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the overall rainfall received in July was close to 17% more than the benchmark – the long period average (LPA). In June, the cumulative rainfall was 8% less than the LPA.

The rainfall deficiency in the eastern and north-eastern regions was 16%, while the cumulative rainfall received in all the four regions of the country during June 1-July 31 was 480 mm, 8% more than the benchmark of 445 mm for the same period.

Deficient rainfall in Uttar Pradesh (46%), Jharkhand (49%), Bihar (39%) and West Bengal (26%) against the benchmark has adversely impacted rice sowing.

Rice sowing in the ongoing kharif season remained 13% below the year-ago level, data released by the agriculture ministry.

Central India, south peninsula and northwest regions have received 17%, 28% and 5% more rainfall, respectively, than the LPA, giving a boost to sowing of kharif crops such as pulses, oilseeds and coarse cereals, sugar and cotton.

Overall summer crops, including paddy, pulses, oilseeds, coarse cereals, sugarcane and cotton, have been sown in 82.34 million hectare so far, about 2% higher than the corresponding period last year. The sowing of kharif crops is expected to continue till the middle of August.

The adequate and well-distributed rainfall during the monsoon months (June-September) helps in boosting kharif crop production, besides ensuring sufficient moisture for the rabi or winter crops.

As many as 29 out of the country’s 36 meteorological subdivisions recorded rainfall in the range of normal (96-104%), above normal (104-110%) and excess (110% and above) range against the LPA. Only seven subdivisions have received deficient rainfall this monsoon season. In April 2022, the government had set a record foodgrain production target of 328 million tonne (MT) in the 2022-23 crop year (July-June) against 314 MT of production in 2021-22. The rice production target was 112 MT in the ongoing kharif season of the 2022-23 crop year (July-June).

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