Shortfall unlikely to impede the agriculture: Indian officials

Published: 03:10 GMT, Aug 3, 2018 |

Amidst concerns that monsoon rains could fall short of “normal,” the India Meteorological Department (IMD) is reviewing its projections.

Officials, however, while July rains were less than expected, the shortfall was confined to the northeastern States of India and below-normal rains were unlikely to impede agriculture production. It’s expected to take a call before the weekend on whether to stick to — or downgrade — its May 30 forecast.

The day before (Wednesday), private forecaster Skymet Weather said monsoon rains — June to September—would be at 92% of the historical Long Period Average (LPA) of 89 cm. It had earlier forecast rains to be “normal” or 100% of the LPA. The larger-than-anticipated shortfall in July and anticipated weak rains during the whole of August were key dampeners. The IMD hasn’t indicated any change in its numbers. On May 30, in an official update, it said that monsoon rains, overall, would be 97% of the LPA. July would see excess rains (101% of that month’s LPA) and August would see a shortfall (94% LPA), it had said.

“We are reviewing the situation, and will soon issue a statement. The monsoon has spread well to all the agriculturally-important regions,” said K.J. Ramesh, Director-General, IMD.

At the start of the monsoon, weather agencies around the world had indicated that the weather conditions in the Indian Ocean wouldn’t be very helpful to the monsoon, particularly after July. However, fears of an El Nino, an anomalous warming of the Central Pacific that frequently dries up monsoon rains in northwest India, also sharply receded. “If you ignore the northeastern states, it’s actually above average rainfall in the rest of India. Regions of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, which had been registering deficit rains, have also improved. So it’s not a situation to worry about,” said Madhavan Rajeevan, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences.

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