By admin       2017-10-03

This year’s southwest monsoon ended the June-September season with 5% lower rainfall than average and expectations of a slightly lower output of kharif, or summer-sown crops, after bouts of floods and dry weather in different parts of the country. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) had predicted the rainfall to be around 98% of long-period average (LPA) with an error margin of 4%. “Total seasonal rainfall this year is 95% of LPA, which is within our forecast range this year, “said an IMD official. The season began well with normal to surplus rainfall in the crucial months of June and July, but the monsoon weakened in August and early September, before a late-season surge. The crucial weather system has now started withdrawing and dry weather is forecast in most parts of northern, western and central India in the days ahead. Punjab and Haryana, which are crucial contributors to India’s food supply, saw a rainfall deficit of more than 20% but these states have adequate irrigation facilities, which make them less vulnerable to rainfall deficiency. Rainfall in September was 12% deficient, as monsoon began to withdraw from parts of northwest India last week. Only south peninsula recorded normal rainfall during the season, as it continues to receive widespread rainfall. Withdrawal of monsoon from remaining parts of northwest India, more parts of central and western India is likely during the week beginning October 5, the department has said. In its first advance estimates of kharif crops for 2017-18, the agriculture ministry last week quoted the overall production at 134.67 million tonnes, 3.86 million tonnes lower than last year's record output. Officials said the country has adequate stocks of foodgrains and the small dip in this season’s harvest will not put any pressure on food supply or prices. Over the next two weeks, rainfall will remain confined to the south peninsular region, as monsoon is withdrawing from parts of northwest and central India. The weakness in monsoon rainfall in the past two months has also affected reservoir storage.

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