Rice, cereal sowing suffers due to delayed monsoons drenching hopes of moderating food prices
- June has witnessed erratic rainfall resulting in many states receiving deficit rains.
- Kharif acreage lagged the year-ago level by a significant 24%, as on June 24, 2022.
- Rice and cereal sowing has been much lower than expected while sugarcane and jute coverage has been good.
AdvertisementIndia’s food inflation has been affecting the common man, and the Indian central bank, RBI, has been banking on a good Kharif crop to arrest it. But looks like rain gods are in no mood to relent.
Except for the East and Northeast, India witnessed a rainfall deficit in three of the four weeks of June. Monsoon directly impacts India’s growth and inflation outlook and the Southwest monsoon is important as the country receives about 75% of annual rainfall between June and September. A good monsoon soothes not only farmers but the economy and markets too.
The pan-India Southwest Monsoon Rainfall was below normal at 92% of long period average (LPA) in June 2022. This is in line with the lower end of the forecast range (92-108%) for the month provided in the Indian Meteorological Department’s (IMD’s) report released in May 2022.
Sugarcane and jute are fine but rice and cereal coverage lags
Since the forecast is correct at the lower end, crop sowing patterns are affected and the much expected bumper crop might not come to be. Rice and cereal sowing has been much lower than expected. Kharif sowing in general has declined 5.3% on a yearly basis as on July 1, 2022.
“While roughly 96-97% of last year’s area has been covered for sugarcane, and jute and mesta as on July 1, 2022, it is moderate in the range of 20-24% in the case of oilseeds, coarse cereals and pulses, followed by a modest 10.3% coverage for rice,” said the report by ICRA.
The report mentions that with an uneven start to the monsoon season, Kharif acreage lagged the year-ago level by a significant 24%, as on June 24, 2022.
Another concern is labour shifting back to urban centres with a revival in service sector demand, which impacts the availability of manpower in the rural areas to till the land. “Also, the availability of fertilizers poses a concern, posing a downside to acreage,” added the report.
Sowing can pick up if monsoon progresses well
However, the IMD expects monthly rainfall in July 2022 over the country as a whole to be normal. Following heavy rains in the third week of June, sowing of kharif crops picked up pace in the last week of the month.
“Typically, sowing gathers steam in July, so the lagging pace of Kharif acreage can be partly made up if the monsoon progresses well through the next month,” said a report by ICRA.
June witnessed erratic rainfall as many states received deficit rains. Over 30 large reservoirs across India have not just less water compared to last year, but far less compared to the average of the last 10 years.
AdvertisementData from India Meteorological Department (IMD) showed that Kerala, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Jharkhand, Mizoram, Manipur, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and the union territories of Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Dadra, Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu and Ladakh, received deficit rainfall.
Reservoir storage now trails year-ago level with gaps in all the regions, except the North
|Regions wise reservoir storage levels||July 2021||June 2022|
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Heatwave followed by a delayed monsoon is drying up India’s reservoirs that provide drinking water
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