Deficient, erratic Monsoon 2022 hits sowing operations

After record breaking summer, farmers face scarce or too much rain


July 2, 2022

/ By / New Delhi

Deficient, erratic Monsoon 2022 hits sowing operations

A significant portion of Indian farmers practise rainfed farming and rely primarily on the monsoon rains to cultivate crop (Photo: MIG Photos)

The first full month of Monsoons this year has seen deficient rainfall in most parts of the country. Coming on the back of a scorching summer which not only came earlier but also saw record heatwaves, the low rainfall so far is a big source of worry for farmers across India.

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As it completed its first full month across the country on June 30, the Monsoon 2022 have been rather awry, with almost all regions receiving a mix of excess or deficient rains. India as a whole received 171.5 mm rainfall this June, 5 pc lower than the normal 180.8 mm.

The variations within the regions have also been stark so far. For instance, in northeast India, while Meghalaya registered 93 pc excess rains and Assam 53 pc, adjoining states of Manipur and Mizoram received 28 pc and 24 pc deficient rains. Similarly in north India, while Jammu & Kashmir received 44 pc excess rain, neighbouring Union Territory of Ladakh received 34 pc lesser rain.

As per a map prepared by the Indian Meteorological Department, or Weather Bureau, there is a large red band running across many states, indicating deficient rain. Uttar Pradesh, home to the largest population, is running a 47 pc deficit, Jharkhand 45 pc. Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra as well as Kerala have also received low rainfall this June.

Overall, 33 pc of the total 694 districts in India saw ‘deficient’ rainfall, while 9 pc experienced ‘major deficient’ rainfall. Only 30 pc of districts have experienced normal rainfall so far in this Monsoon.

Senior meteorologist Nishikawa of The Weather Forecast Company believes that the three elements are primarily to blame for the deficient rainfall. The Arabian Sea’s below-average surface temperatures were his first point of emphasis. He also points to the MJO pulse, which is avoiding India. The Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) is described as an eastward-moving pulse of clouds, rain, winds, and pressure near the equator that normally recurs every 30 to 60 days and causes notable variation in tropical weather. The boreal heat flow, which is the migration of convection (heat) from the Indian Ocean to the western Pacific Ocean, was the last and most important thing he raises. The closer this convective centre is to India, the more effectively it stimulates the monsoon season there. But this year, the shift didn’t happen, and India experienced below-average precipitation, says Nishikawa.

Farmers hit again

Given that a significant portion of Indian farmers practise rainfed farming and rely primarily on the monsoon rains to cultivate their crops, the inadequate rainfall has had a direct impact on agriculture. According to the government data, over 70 pc of the nation’s yearly rainfall is attributed to the monsoon, and nearly half of the population depends on it for agricultural productivity.

According to the All India Crop Situation report published by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, the deficient Monsoon has had a direct influence on the country’s kharif sowing. The kharif crop producing states like Kerala, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Odisha have been hard hit by the deficient rainfall.

“The lack of pre-monsoon rains in March-April caused the temperature to be extremely high. The farmers who grow vegetables in addition to the zaid (summer) crop between rabi and kharif have also suffered losses as a result of this, in addition to the rabi crops like wheat,” IMD official RK Jenamani tells Media India Group.

He adds that in the absence of rain, farmers spend more on irrigation, which causes them to incur losses as well as the risk of falling into a debt trap.

Most Punjab and Haryana farmers don’t rely on the rain because they have reliable irrigation systems. However, farmers in Central India wait for the monsoon to produce their crops. But, the lack of rainfall this year has raised concerns about their ability to earn livelihood.

“If the rainfall deficit continues into the second and third week of July, it will have serious ramifications. Let us be very clear, we cannot afford another disruption in the weather pattern. If it happens, we won’t be able to bear the consequences,” food and trade policy expert Devinder Sharma warned in a recent media interaction.



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