Monsoon progress chart
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
The State is poised for a severe crisis in vegetable cultivation, of onion in particular, if the present dry spell continues for just another week or ten days. Vegetables would become scarce and dear then, making it difficult for the common man to buy them.
The onion crop is bound to start withering if the dry spell continues, says a horticultural officer on the condition of anonymity. The scarcity of onions occurred last a few years ago during the NDA regime.
Onion is cultivated most in Kurnool district.
Of the total extent of around 35,000 hectares under onion cultivation in the State, Kurnool accounts for nearly a third _ 10,000 to 11,000 hectares. Nearly 30 per cent of the crop in the district is rain-fed, which means that the crop will be lost if it does not rain early on. In the other areas, around 45 per cent is cultivated with water from borewells. The depleting levels of ground water thanks to the severe summer and a very bad monsoon make that prospect also look bleak.
The onion crop area in the district, according to the horticultural department official, has shrunk by nearly 1,500 hectares. The crop in Kurnool Rural and Kallur mandals, and in surrounding areas has been affected the most.
Medak, Mahaboobnagar and Srikakaulam districts make up most of the remaining area under onion crop in the State. Of that, close to 20 per cent is rain-fed and about 80 per cent is served by borewells. ``The size of the bulb (onion bulb) in most areas will shrink considerably and the crop may even become damaged if the monsoon eludes the State for another ten days,'' says an official in Hyderabad.
"The temperature might play spoilsport as high temparatures could be detrimental to the crop as the inner parts of the onion bulb will decompose even while the crop is standing,'' says another official.
The government's target of 16,000 hectares of onion crop in Kharif has reduced by 900 hectares to around 15,100.
In the case of tomato, too, the scenario is not encouraging though not alrming. The crop, in most places, is getting ready for harvesting in another 10 days. Chittor district is the major market for the luscious fruit. According to market nalysts, tomato is likely to be sold at Rs 20 a kilo at the farm and the price it may command in the market is anybody's guess.
Other vegetables whose cultivation are likely to be affected by the delayed monsoon are lady's fingers, bottle gourd, chillis and others.
Lady's fingers are cultivated in around 500 hectares in Khammam district. This crop also faces the prospect of drying up if it does not rain in the next few days.
According to an estimate, the State needs, on an average, close to 2 crore tonnes of vegetables a month _ around 9 lakh tones per district. But with many parts of the country and most parts of the State reeling under a continued dry spell, the production is likely to come down at least by 20 percent, which translated into volume, would be around 40 lakh tonnes.
Drought occurs mainly due to failure of south-west monsoon (June - September). Climate change is accelerating drought attacks In fact, drought and floods in India are a perennial phenomenon, recurring with regular consistency every few years. True these are natural disasters, yet it is also known that man has the capability to conquer and tame nature. The political system or government's ideology has a major role to play in these issues.
Droughts are, in fact, of three categories:
- Meteorological drought: This happens when the actual rainfall in an area is significantly less than the climatological mean of that area. The country as a whole may have a normal monsoon, but different meteorological districts and sub-divisions can have below normal rainfall. The rainfall categories for smaller areas are defined by their deviation from a meteorological area's normal rainfall -
Excess: 20 per cent or more above normal
Normal: 19 per cent above normal - 19 per cent below normal
Deficient: 20 per cent below normal - 59 per cent below normal
Scanty: 60 per cent or more below normal
- Hydrological drought: A marked depletion of surface water causing very low stream flow and drying of lakes, rivers and reservoirs
- Agricultural drought: Inadequate soil moisture resulting in acute crop stress and fall in agricultural productivity
India experienced 18 droughts during 1871-1990, of which 10 were severe and 5 were phenomenal. While the periods 1901-20 and 1961-80 had the highest frequency of drought. There were six droughts between 1900 and 1950 and 12 in the following 50 years. We have already faced three droughts between 2000 and 2009. There were six between 1900 and 1950 and 12 in the following 50 years. We have already faced three droughts between 2000 and 2009. During the drought of 2000-2001, a total of eight states have fallen foul of the rain gods. These included Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan, Chattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tehri Garhwal districts in Uttarakhand. Some states were in their second or third consecutive year of drought.
Let us now talk of the recent scenario in this context in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
Uttar Pradesh has 71 districts. Scanty rainfall in almost the entire state except some districts has created drought-like situation.
Thus, 47 districts have been declared drought-hit, but there are still many more districts where there has been little rainfall. According to a press release 'according tothe Government, districts where there was less than 40 per cent rain and sowing was less than 75 per cent or rain was between 40 to 60 per cent and sowing was less than 50 per cent had been declared as drought affected.'
Equity benchmarks snapped the three-session winning streak on Tuesday, as investors restricted stock purchases on concerns over the impact
of scanty monsoon on Indian economy's revival.
BSE's 30-share Sensex ended the day at 15830.98, down 93 points, over the previous close, after briefly crossing the 16000-mark earlier in the session. NSE's 50-share Nifty closed at 4680.50, down 31 points, over the previous close.
The broader market ended with a positive bias, albeit marginal, with gainers outnumbering losers 1480:1242 on BSE.
Fund managers said though stock valuations factor in an even corporate earnings growth estimates of 2010-11, in part, the momentum could carry the markets to higher levels.
"The sentiment continues to be positive, but remains to be seen to what extent it can translate into absolute gains from these levels," says Krishna Sanghi, head-equities, Kotak Mutual Fund. "The domestic triggers have all played out, and for some time the market will take cues from global trends and liquidity," he said.
Foreign and domestic institutions net bought Indian shares worth Rs 219 crore and Rs 253.29 crore, respectively, according to provisional data.
The Meteorological Department said India's annual monsoon rains have not progressed much this week in the north, an event that is expected to hit the crops there.
Merrill Lynch, in its report said, "Let's face it, while we will wait a week, it looks virtually impossible to recoup rice cultivation - now 25% below last year. Yes, rice is but approximately 1% of GDP, but nearly 20% contraction will likely hit growth around 50bps, after second-round effects."
Elsewhere in Asia, most markets, barring Japan, ended weak on Tuesday.
Emerging signals indicate a partial revival of monsoon rains along the country's eastern flank and southwest peninsular coast from the weekend.
Dr Akhilesh Gupta, lead operational forecaster and Adviser to the Department of Science and Technology, attributed this to an expected change in orientation of the south-westerly flows.
The southwesterly-to-westerly flows are currently oriented towards the plains of the north, but forecasts indicate they would switch back to being more trans-peninsular in track from Friday onwards.
The timing of the actual revival would depend on the behaviour of two raging storms - Morakot and Goni - in the west Pacific. They would have to significantly wind down before rains can resume over India.
In any case, Bihar and adjoining parts of east Uttar Pradesh; north Orissa and Jharkhand; and Chhattisgarh and adjoining east Madhya Pradesh are expected to benefit from the easterly push in renewed rains. Alongside, a revival of sorts would get orchestrated along the west coast as well with coastal Karnataka and Kerala receiving heavier rains, Dr Gupta said.
However, northwest and north peninsular India (including Marathwada and Vidarbha) are likely to sit out since the monsoon trough is not seen moving south or evolving well enough.
Dr Gupta also said that there is no clear signal of a low-pressure area forming in the Bay of Bengal, which would have triggered a full-blown monsoon revival.
At best, a land-based circulation is what one can expect to see during the period leading up to August 12.
Meanwhile, no major recovery in monsoon rainfall is seen during the rest of the season (August and September), according to Dr Swadhin Behera, lead researcher at the Tokyo-based Research Institute for Global Change.
This runs counter to India Meteorological Department's (IMD) projections for normal or even excess (101 per cent) rainfall during August.
"Apparently, it is break-monsoon condition now with hardly any rain over most parts of India," Dr Behera said while interacting with Business Line.
Dr Behera, who is team leader for Low-latitude Climate Prediction Research at the Climate Variation Predictability and Applicability Research Programme, blamed El Nino and a nascent negative Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) event for the expected shortfall in rains.
IOD refers to warming differential in the southwest and southeast Indian Ocean, with a positive IOD (warming in the southwest Pacific) favourable for Indian monsoon and vice-versa.
EL NINO MODOKI
Dr Behera also referred to an emerging pattern, called El Nino-Modoki, in which warming of the Pacific progressively shifts from the east to the central parts (and closer to India) signalling a more direct impact on monsoon.
This is unlike the previous El Nino event of 2006, when a positive IOD helped an El Nino to get established in nearly linear progression with the latter.
The weakening of eastern Pacific warming will in turn push the warm anomalies to the central Pacific. The resultant warming of the central Pacific, or El Nino Modoki, is not favourable for India monsoon.