Overall rainfall this year has been higher than it usually is by mid-September, though not uniformly so across the country. Given last year’s drought, crop yield this year is expected to be significantly higher.
In Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, however, there has been a drought this year, notwithstanding the recent floods in Bihar. Bihar has 30 drought-hit districts, Jharkhand 24 and Bengal 11. But farm officials expect robust crop acreages elsewhere to offset the losses.
D Sivananda Pai, director of the Met department’s Pune-based Long Range Forecasting,, said this year’s heavy end-season rainfall was due to ‘La Nina’ conditions, marked by abnormal cooling of Pacific waters.
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Output of major crops this year will be better or equal to 2008-09 production levels. “We expect high production. States with drought will sow the late-variety boro rice. The loss should get compensated,” Central Agriculture Commissioner Gurbachan Singh said.
“Initial monsoon deficiency in the three rain-deficient states was 30 per cent but rains in the past few days have bridged the gap in Bengal by 2-3 per cent,” Narendranath Dey, Bengal’s farm minister, said.
The farm ministry expects a good rice crop in Punjab, Haryana and UP. Punjab, which sows rice and cotton, got 104 per cent rain. Cane-growing UP had 26 per cent excess rain while Gujarat (cotton and groundnut) had 346 per cent surplus rain. Falls between 96 and 104 per cent are normal.