Ahead of IMD, government predicts normal monsoon rains
The Financial Express. New Delhi, 13 April 2016
After two consecutive years of deficient rainfall (2014 and 2015), this year’s monsoon is expected to be normal and would boost farm production, agriculture secretary Shobhana K Pattanayak said. “El Nino condition is declining. It is expected that La Nina condition will take over, and will perhaps favour a good monsoon this year,” Pattanayak said, addressing a national conference on the kharif campaign for 2016-17. He said that the India Meteorological Department would release its first monsoon prediction for the year. Pattanayak also asked state governments to make advance preparations for sowing of kharif (summer) crops like rice and pulses by making adequate availability of seeds, fertilisers, and other agri-inputs. “Less-than-normal rainfall in the last two years has left farmers and resources at stress. There is high moisture stress in soil,” he noted.
The Economic Survey 2015-16 recently had stated that the El Nino weather pattern, which was mainly responsible for the deficient monsoon for the last two consecutive years, is unlikely to repeat this year and that there was a probability of a normal monsoon rainfall. The survey said the monsoon was not going to be bad, especially when all models were pointing to a very low probability of a repeat El Niño happening this year. “The monsoon could also be good due to other favourable factors such as a positive Indian Ocean Dipole,” the survey noted. While suggesting the government on preparation of contingency plan for monsoon, especially after two successive drought years, the survey suggested several measures including declaring the minimum support price for crops like pulses well in advance. Because of deficient monsoon rain, the country’s food grain production declined to 252 million tonne (MT) and 253 MT in 2014-15 and 2015-16, respectively, from a record production of 265 MT in 2013-14.
Source: Agriculture Today, AgriNews, <email@example.com>