Monday, July 04, 2022

Behind Monsoon Woes

By The Editorial Team Updated: Jun 22, 2022 12:03 am

After receiving normal rainfall for three consecutive years, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has once again forecast above-normal rainfall for the country this year as well. It is good news as most states are heavily dependent on rainfall for agricultural activities and agriculture accounts for a large share of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). While the positive weather forecast and early onset of southwest monsoon instilled confidence of a positive growth in the current fiscal, inconsistency in rainfall pattern has certainly not been a positive sign, as it can affect the overall agricultural output in the country. Most states in the Northeast faced a drought-like situation in the past few years, while the rest of the country received normal rainfall, which was reflected in impressive contribution of agriculture to India’s GDP. This year too, the country is facing uneven distribution of rain, but it’s the reverse this time with rain eluding many central Indian states, including farming heartlands, while most states in the Northeast received excess or normal rainfall. According to IMD report for this month, at least 15 states and Union Territories (UTs) received deficient rainfall, while nine states received normal precipitation and eight states/UTs received excess rainfall between June 1 and the 21st. The excess precipitation over Assam, Meghalaya, hills of West Bengal and Sikkim, which has resulted in floods and landslides, has reduced India’s overall rainfall deficit to 2% but it does not reflect the complete picture of the country due to uneven distribution of rain. It is to be seen if the monsoon coverage will improve in the central, northern and western regions this week, as predicted by the weather department. Rainfall in the remaining days of June and the months of July and August will be crucial as it will determine the agricultural output from the farming heartland of the country.

In Nagaland, rainfall pattern has been erratic over the past few years. After facing severe floods in 2018, affecting thousands of families and killing at least a dozen people, drought-like situation followed. Sometimes, rains arrived too early or too late, thus badly affecting agricultural activities in the state. This year, the monsoon arrived on time and the state has experienced normal rainfall till date, receiving 162.4 mm rainfall (normal 172.5 mm) between June 1 and the 21st. The IMD report said that Kohima and Dimapur faced deficient precipitation during this period, while the rest of the state received either normal or large excess rainfall. With the weather department predicting a normal monsoon for this year, it appears that the farming community, which accounts for about 70% of the state’s population, will have a bountiful harvest this year. Farmers should plant crops while the rain pours. In the meantime, they should be prepared for impending challenges like changes in rainfall patterns, which is expected to worsen over the years due to global warming and climate change. Besides adopting modern technology, farmers in the state should take up diversified farming and grow climate-resilient crops for good yields and steady income. This is necessary with weather patterns getting more and more erratic.

By The Editorial Team Updated: Jun 22, 2022 12:03:26 am