New Delhi: India’s southwest monsoon, which waters more than half of the country’s farmland and is crucial for economic growth, is expected to be normal this year as El Nino weather conditions are seen staying weak.
The India Meteorological Department maintained its April forecast, reiterating that rains during the June-September monsoon season will be 96% of the long-term average. The prediction has a margin of error of 4%, the weather office said in a statement on its website.
The monsoon is critical to agriculture as it accounts for over 70% of annual rainfall and fills reservoirs that help irrigate crops. It shapes the livelihood of millions and influences food prices. Insufficient rain in the country, the second-biggest producer of rice and wheat, often leads to drinking water shortages, lower crop output and higher imports of commodities like edible oils.
“This is a positive news,” said Soumya Kanti Ghosh, chief economic adviser at State Bank of India. Better distribution of rainfall may help crops, while a good rainy season should help boost rural demand, he said.
Weak El Nino
The current weak El Nino conditions over the Pacific ocean are likely to continue during the monsoon season, according to the statement. The El Nino weather phenomenon, which creates an abnormal warming of the Pacific Ocean, tends to lower rainfall during India’s monsoons.
The monsoon, which typically reaches the southern Indian state of Kerala on June 1, is likely to be delayed this year. The department has predicted the onset on June 6, while private forecaster Skymet Weather Services expects it to hit the southern coast on June 4. Any delay or deficit in the early part of the season could hamper sowing and hurt crops such as rice, cotton and soybeans, even if rainfall gathers pace later.
Rain in the northwest region of the country is likely to be 94% of the long-term average, while the central part may get 100%. The southern region may receive 97% and the northeastern areas will probably get 91% of average rainfall, it said. The regional rain forecast has a margin of error of 8%.
Precipitation in July, the wettest month, is likely to be 95% of the average this year, and 99% during August, according to the weather office. – Bloomberg
Also read: Distant Atlantic Ocean key to accurate Indian monsoon prediction in warming world: Study
In the Indian Express there is a report saying that the monsoon will be below normal.
One can no longer be sure about what and whom to believe in the press.
Krishi Mantri Narendra Singh Tomar starts his tenure on an auspicious note. May the dams and the granaries remain full.
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