Weak monsoon may result in 10% lower kharif output
If monsoon remains weak in key States in the next week, then kharif production is likely to be lower by an estimated 10 per cent, a top official of the Indian Agriculture Research Institute (IARI) has said here.
While rice output may not be affected due to better rain in Northeast and irrigation facilities in Punjab and Haryana, soybean, cotton and groundnut harvest may be hit in crucial growing States such as Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.
Till July 14, monsoon was said to be lower by 41 per cent with 53 per cent departure from normal in northwest India and 55 per cent lower in central India.
“If it rains in the next one week as the Met office has predicted, then normal sowing can still commence,” said IARI Director H.S. Gupta on Wednesday. “Cotton and soybean can be sown up to July 25 provided it rains in Gujarat and Maharashtra which together account for about 60 per cent of the country’s cotton output,” he added.
Farmers in Punjab and Haryana have sown a newly developed short-duration rice variety called Pusa Basmati 1509 in almost 50 per cent area which will give a higher yield than the traditional Pusa Basmati 1121.
Scientists admitted that for over a decade there has not been much emphasis on development of improved crop varieties in rain-fed areas which is why a monsoon deficiency situation lands dry-land farmers in trouble.
“Our focus areas have been irrigated areas and the Gangetic belt. Poverty-stricken non-irrigated areas with low productivity have unfortunately so far been neglected,” a top official said.
Till last Friday, kharif sowing was lower than last year by almost 50 per cent owing to deficient and weak monsoon.