The roller-coaster of monsoon continues. Normally, by the end of September, the time comes for the rain to stop, but now the Meteorological Department has predicted that the Southwest Monsoon may be 110 percent of the Long Period Average (LPA) this month. However, the Meteorological Department has also said that even better than average rainfall will be insufficient to meet the shortfall in the entire season.
The LPA of rainfall in the four months from June to September is 89 cm, with the LPA of September being 17 cm, the lowest in the four months. In August this year, the monsoon has been 24 per cent below normal (rainfall between 96 and 104 per cent of the LPA is considered normal), while in July it was 7 per cent below normal.
Overall, the monsoon so far has been less than 10% of the LPA. The extent of the rain deficit can be gauged from the fact that August 2021 has been the sixth driest August since 1901.
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Monsoon in India is directly related to the sowing of Kharif season. Several oilseeds including paddy, cotton, sugarcane, various pulses and soybeans are sown during Kharif and the sowing time is generally from June to August. Almost all the sowing is done by the beginning of September, so there is little chance that the above average rainfall in September will have any significant impact on the agricultural scenario of the country.
However, the condition of the reservoirs of the country can definitely be better. In this context, it would be relevant to see what has been the kharif sowing situation so far, as this can give an idea of the total production and prices for this season.
In the 2021-22 kharif season, although paddy sown area was lagging behind last year for most of the time, but according to the latest data released earlier this month, paddy transplantation overall surpassed last year’s despite a weak monsoon. Has been.
While paddy was sown in a little over 400 lakh hectares till September 2 last year, this year it has increased to more than 401 lakh hectares. Similarly, the area under pulses has also increased by about 1.6 lakh hectares year after year to reach 136.85 lakh hectares in 2021. Among these, the highest increase has been in the area of tur, and the area under urad has been almost the same as last year. However, there has been some decrease in the area under moong.
The area under coarse cereals and oilseeds has decreased the most in 2021. While the area under sowing of coarse cereals like jowar, bajra, ragi, maize and small millets was 176.72 lakh hectares last year, this year it has been less by 4 lakh hectares. Of these, the maximum reduction of 5.29 lakh hectares has come in the sowing of millet and the area under maize has increased by about 1.5 lakh hectares.
Weather Updates: There will be more rain than normal in September across the country, waterlogging due to heavy rains in Delhi
Last month, from the Red Fort, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had spoken in front of the country to make the country self-reliant in the production of palm oil. Anyway, in the case of oilseeds, the country’s dependence on imports keeps pricking not only the economy but also the consumers.
The government has succeeded in achieving almost self-sufficiency in pulses. But in oilseeds production, this path is looking more difficult. In Kharif 2021 also, the area under oilseeds has decreased by 3.20 lakh hectares as compared to last year.
In this, groundnut and castor have the highest share, whose sown area has decreased by 2.26 and 87 thousand hectares respectively. In comparison, the area under soybean has increased by about 1 lakh hectare and the area under sunflower has increased by about 27 thousand hectare.
In the cash crops category, sowing of sugarcane and jute has increased partially, but cotton has seen a sharp decline of 8.32 lakh hectares. The clear reason for such a huge reduction in cotton sowing is about 50 per cent less than the monsoon average rainfall in Northwest India, especially Gujarat. This reduction in rainfall is also visible on castor acreage, of which Gujarat is the largest producer.
After agriculture, the biggest importance of monsoon comes in maintaining the water level in the country’s reservoirs. The water that is stored in these reservoirs during the monsoon of four months, water is available for the country from drinking to irrigation in the remaining 8 months.
There are 130 such reservoirs in the country, which are constantly monitored by the government and in which adequate reserves of water are extremely important. 44 of these reservoirs are also used for hydroelectric projects and supply 60 MW of electricity. According to the data released by the Central Water Commission last Friday (September 9), these 130 reservoirs hold about 117 billion cubic meters (BCM) of water, which is 68% of their total capacity of about 172 BCM.
At present last year, the total water storage in these reservoirs is about 144 BCM and the average of last 10 years is 124 BCM. That is, at present, these reservoirs of the country have 81% as compared to last year and 94% of the average of the last 10 years.
This is certainly not a satisfactory situation and with the Meteorological Department’s prediction of above-average rainfall in September, it can be expected that by the end of the monsoon season, the shortfall in water storage will be fulfilled.
(The author is a specialist in economic and agricultural matters)
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