-The Economic Times
The monsoon has covered the key farming regions of central and northwestern parts of the country, giving a boost to sowing. However, the coarse grainproducing areas of western Rajasthan and Gujarat are yet to get any rain spell.
"The monsoon is progressing well. There are chances that rains will be good in July, allaying fears of a major crop loss. The July rain this time is likely to be 98% of its long period average ," said an IMD official.
July and August, which contribute 65% of total rainfall, are crucial for farming. The rapid progress of the monsoon in the past couple of days has boosted sowing activities in wheat-growing states of Punjab and Haryana besides giving momentum to oilseeds and pulses cultivation in central and north-western parts.
Till July 6, farmers in Punjab and Haryana had sown paddy on 22.18 lakh ha - down from 28.47 lakh ha last year. Paddy fields of these states constitute 10% of total paddy acreage with Punjab contributing more than 30% to the government's rice stock.
"Paddy seedlings are ready for transplanting in Punjab and Haryana. If the monsoon progresses further, sowing can be completed by the end of July," said Trilochan Mohapatra , director, Central Rice Research Institute.
PV Joseph, weather scientist and former director of India Meteorological Department (IMD), said the monsoon is likely to pick up in next 4-5 days, heralding the beginning of the second activebreak cycle of the three-cycle monsoon. "In the first activebreak cycle, rains were below the expectation. Failure to recover in the ensuing 40-day cycle will bring more trouble for farming," he said.
In the first 35 days of monsoon , starting on June 5, the overall deficit runs at 25%. The north-western parts of the country are worst affected with a shortfall of 43%, followed by southern peninsula covering oilseeds fields of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka .
The IMD, in its second update, has said that the north-west India will get 93% of its normal rains while southern peninsula will get 95% of its normal quota. "With monsoon progressing northwards, southern parts will start drying up, leaving little chance of making up the deficit staring at 31%," Joseph said.