Indian kharif crops under threat due to heavy rain forecast in second-half of September
Sep. 21, 2020
Officials of the agri-business industry have expressed concerns over the damage threat looming over Kharif crops due to the heavy rains that have been predicted over central and western India in the latter half of September.
Kharif crops are monsoon crops that are sown in June-July and harvested in September-October. Encouraged by plentiful monsoon rains this year, farmers have sown crops of corn, rice, cotton, sugarcane, and soybean extensively in key farmlands. As per the recent report from the analytic company CRISIL, monsoon 2020 has seen a nearly 6% jump in sowing area compared to the last year.
However, as per the latest forecasts, rainfall activity across central and western parts of India is expected to significantly increase in the coming weeks, on the back of irregular rain spells during the first half of the month. The development of La Niña conditions over the Pacific Ocean and the increased frequency of low-pressure areas over the Bay of Bengal are said to be the likely cause of increased precipitation in parts of India.
In fact, as per the India Meteorological Department (IMD), widespread rains, along with isolated heavy to very heavy showers, are likely to lash eastern, western, and southern states of India starting Saturday, September 19. These wet conditions will be produced by a low-pressure area over Northeast Bay of Bengal and the consequent strengthening of winds along India’s western coast.
Owing to these conditions, a report in The Hindu suggests that important farming areas across the country are likely to witness excessive rainfall, which could increase the possibility of crop loss and damage.
In the month of June, India collectively witnessed 17% above-average monsoon rainfall. However, in July, there was a prominent dip, as the precipitation was 10% below the average. Thereafter, August rains, which were 27% above normal, have considerably harmed crops of cotton, soyabean, and pulse in some major regions.
Government, trade, and industry officials have noted that the damage that has occurred thus far has not been extensive; rather, the effects have been felt locally. But the upcoming rain spell may end up changing this scenario and can cause major damage to the crops that are ready for harvesting.
B.V. Mehta, executive director of the Solvent Extractors’ Association of India, told The Hindu that wet conditions would destroy soybean and peanut, which require dry weather during the time of its ripening.
Further, Vivek Agrawal, owner of JLV Agro, a trading firm, added: “Some pulse crops suffered a bit of damage in August, and now there are concerns about heavy rains in the latter part of this month. We are keeping our fingers crossed.”
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