After stuttering all through the month of June, India’s monsoon is finally racing ahead, with July’s rainfall surpassing normal levels.
Rainfall in July was 218.2 mm compared to a normal of 215.3 mm, a research note from rating agency CARE quoting the Indian Meterological Department (IMD) has pointed out.
Rainfall for the month of June was however at 137.6 mm, 12% lower than the normal of 155.5 mm. The breakup is interesting. On a cumulative basis, rainfall was excess/normal in 24 of India’s 36 meterological sub-divisions and deficient/scanty in 12.
Overall, the number of regions receiving normal to excess rainfall has been lower than last year, says CARE. Moreover, the area under deficient rainfall has gone up considerably in the recent period. The good news is that the situation is better than 2014.
The table below shows the break up of rainfall for first month of the season in all regions, which are divided into 36 meteorological zones by the IMD for the period June 1-June 29.
The bigger question is about crops and what will happen to sowing ?
Overall area under cultivation is lower than that since last year by 22.7%, says CARE. Of the broad categories of crops covered here, rice and sugarcane are the only products that have witnessed higher acreage. The lower level of rainfall is one of the reasons for the low cultivation.
“It is expected that with a very high rainfall of 80.7 mm received in the first week of July, higher than the normal of 59.8 mm for this period, the acreage area should show major improvement in this period,” said the report.
What will be crucial from a supply as well as price perspective is the progress in case of pulses and oilseeds as these are the vulnerable segments in terms of price effects. Coarse cereals too have not shown encouraging signs, which was also the case last year.
July is a critical month for the monsoon as this is the time when all cropping decisions are taken and shortage of rainfall can lead to switching of crops.
July accounts for about 30-35% of total rainfall in the season and August around 20-25%.
As the monsoon is progressing positively across India, the impact will be felt on the cropping pattern as the season goes by.