Saturday, December 10, 2011

Dry and Long - Huge Rainfall Shortage in India

Northern India in general is going through a long dry spell. The report of the Indian Meteorological Department has shown that there has been a huge deficit in this year's rain fall. Whereas the usual North-Eastern monsoon period for western, eastern, north and north-eastern states of India stretches from 1 June to 15 October each year, the South Western monsoon starting from 1 October to December facilitates rainfall in the east coast of India. Looking into the available data and maps, the early rainfall in June was excess in many states, and normal in July. But, after that there has been a huge drop in rainfall. Though the cumulative rainfall for the period looks normal in most counts, in actual terms there has been very little rainfall since August in most states, and huge deficit in north-eastern states. 

The data available till date for the October to 7 December 2011 period shows further deviations, as the state of Andhrapradesh in south, several northern, north eastern, eastern and western states are under severe shortage of rainfall. The Gangetic belt is showing signs of stress as the average rainfall shortage for this period is above 80% in most cases. Although not much of rain is expected during this period, it is important in terms of agriculture, arrival of winter and warding of pests! The lack of rainfall has the potential to push up input costs on agriculture for small farmers who hold less than one acre of land, and increase debts for medium farmers who often take big loans. This could also hit production of vegetables, cereals and pulses of the winter crops and summer crops. On the one side the winter has set in very late. On the other side, the Indian agricultural industry is looking at deep drops in the coming summer.

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