INDIA- According to India Meteorological Department (IMD), India is likely to receive an average amount of rain in July despite the emergence of the El Nino weather pattern, encouraging farmers to accelerate crop planting, which has progressed slowly due to patchy rains in June.
The ongoing monsoon rains, vital for India’s US$3 trillion economy, deliver nearly 70% of the rain needed to water its farms and refill reservoirs and aquifers, and also bring relief from searing summer heat waves.
According to Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, director-general of the India Meteorological Department (IMD), most parts of the country will likely receive good rainfall in July.
“Rainfall in July could be 100 to 106% of the long period average,” he said.
July rainfall is crucial as it accounts for most of the precipitation utilized during the four months-long monsoon season.
This year, the country badly needs good rainfall in July as many pockets received below-normal rainfall in June due to a delay in the onset of monsoon and its slow progress until the third week of June because of the formation of severe cyclone Biparjoy.
Bountiful monsoon rains in July would ease concerns about the output of summer crops, promising higher incomes in the countryside where most Indians live.
As almost half of the country’s farmland lacks irrigation, Indian farmers depend on rain-fed agriculture, with most of it coming from the monsoon.
This year, India received 10% below normal rainfall in June, although some states received as much as 60% lower rainfall than normal.
A strong El Nino, marked by a warming of the sea surface in the Pacific Ocean, can cause severe drought in Southeast Asia, India, and Australia.
However, the IMD has forecast an average amount of rainfall for the entire four-month season despite the formation of an El Nino weather pattern.
The success of this year’s plantings is essential to the output of crops that India needs to sustain itself.
It is particularly important because grain production in the country was affected by too much untimely rainfall, fetching significantly low prices in the market.