Monsoon finally covered the whole of India on Friday, setting off a temporary sigh of relief for the government and farmers alike. But the patchy and less-than-normal rains mean the worry is far from over, experts said.
“The south-west monsoon has further advanced on Friday into remaining parts of Rajasthan, covering the entire country about 12 days ahead of its normal schedule,” a bulletin posted on the Met Department website stated. The monsoon typically covers the entire country around July 15.
The south-west monsoon, crucial for sowing of Kharif or summer crops like paddy and pulses, is still below strength. At 92.2 mm between June 1 and July 1, it’s alarmingly 46 per cent below normal. The rains for the week ending July 1 were 29 per cent below normal.
The Met Department’s long-range forecast for the 2009 monsoon, too, predicts a below normal rainfall this year.
“It is a relief but this only takes care of the immediate need of sowing. But crop outcome will depend on how well distributed the rains are,” said A.K. Singh, Deputy Director-General of Natural Resources.
Singh said for the country to have a normal crop, the monsoon needs to be “well distributed” or “regular” and normal till September.
“For rice crop, rain distribution matters more than the total quantity of rains,” said Yashpal Sherawat, an cropping agronomist with the International Rice Research Institute.