Tuesday, 29 November 2022

Kharif crops under threat by rain

Kharif crops under threat by rain

Moisture-drive weather patterns across India have reactivated the monsoon system again, flooding several states and risking key to Kharif crop, including onion, a widely consumed price-delicate food commodity.

A circulation of cyclonic over the Bay of Bengal, dumping heavy rainfall in West Bengal, moisture drafts due to a low-pressure formation over northern states,

Rainy trail across Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Odisha have flooded large parts of several states, endangering Kharif crop.

Rice fields in many districts of the food bowl states of Punjab, Haryana, and parts of Uttar Pradesh have gone underwater, growers said, while Delhi witnessed historic rains on Saturday.

A monsoon going into a hyperactive mode in a month when it should begin tapering off could bring misery to the farm sector, which supports half of India’s population.

In an alert on Saturday, the India Meteorological Department, the national weather agency, said there could be “damage to horticulture and standing crops in some areas due to inundation.”

After hampering summer-sown crops such as soybean, rice, cotton, and vegetables due to a long dry spell from mid-June to mid-July, flooding has now affected Kharif crop in states such as Uttarakhand, parts of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, and Madhya Pradesh.

Lower yields or output can stoke food prices, as job cuts post Covid-19 have impacted nearly one million Indians, according to data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, a private data firm.

“Onions, a staple in most Indian households, are likely to make consumers cry again with erratic monsoon leading to an eventual delay in harvest,”

Crisil Ltd, a rating firm, said in a research note Saturday.

Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh are central onion-producing states, accounting for over 75% of total summer onion output.

Although harvest time is a month away, Crisil Ltd’s “on-ground report” said onion seed transplantation suffered critical lags due to on-off rains, potentially delaying the time onion crop takes to mature.

Kharif crops under threat by rain 1pixabay image

Read More : GDP to grow of India in 18.5 % in the third quarter

Summer onions account for no more than 30% of India’s annual supply, but they are critical to prices stability because they replenish stores during the lean September-November, period.

Experts hold that longer dry spells followed by short periods of heavy rainfall are tell-tale signs of a changing climate’s impact on the monsoon, which waters 60% of the country’s net-sown area.

Ashok Renjen, a former agronomist with the Punjab agriculture department said

“If heavy rainfall persists, yields may be affected, although mild rainfall in September is beneficial,”

The IMD on Saturday forecast “fairly widespread” rainfall with “isolated heavy to very heavy falls,” which correlates to hazardous rain, in many states until September 14,

Especially in Konkan and Goa, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha.

While rice planting stood at normal levels for the current week, at 106 million hectares, farmers have sown oilseeds over 17 million hectares, which is also considered normal, according to official data. Pulses, another essential basket of legumes, have been planted over 13.9 million hectares, marginally higher than usual.

Gambhir Singh, a farmer from Haryana’s Babbain region, speaking in Hindi  said

“Standing water could cause crops to wilt,”

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