The monsoon has dipped slightly below normal in recent days and its distribution has been uneven, but rainfall is again on the upswing with forecast of heavy showers in the main crop-producing regions in the days ahead.
Total rainfall since the start of the season on June 1 is 5% below the 50-year average on Friday, improving from a 6% seasonal deficit on the previous day, data from the weather office showed. Until about a week ago, seasonal rainfall was in the normal range of -4% to +4% of average.
So far, farmers have planted crops on 1,013 lakh hectares, marginally lower by 0.3% than last year, when the country had a record agricultural output. Agriculture ministry officials said that crop prospects remain bright.
Key agricultural areas with deficient rainfall include Madhya Pradesh with a shortfall of 20%-25% in various districts; Vidarbha region, 28% below average; and western Uttar Pradesh that is 37% in deficit.
Good rainfall is forecast for most of these regions in the next two weeks because a rain-bearing weather system will move from Odisha towards Gujarat, drenching Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Vidarbha and Madhya Pradesh on the way for the next six to seven days. For the next six days, rainfall activity is likely to above normal over plains of northwest India and over central & east India. Overall rainfall activity is likely to be above normal over India as a whole,the weather office said.
The first week of September will also have above-normal rainfall across the country, the weather office said in medium-term outlook for the monsoon.
Rainfall has also been below normal in Punjab and Haryana with a deficit of 19%-30% but officials say that these states have adequate irrigation facilities to keep the crops healthy.
This year, the water level in 91 major reservoirs is below average. Total water stored is 78% of last year’s level and 81% of the average of the last decade, data from the Central Water Commission shows. Reservoirs in northern India have more water compared to last year as well as the 10-year average, but in other regions, the level is lower.
Original Source: economictimes.indiatimes.com
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