The storage in reservoirs is much better than last year’s

Though the early arrival of monsoon spelt devastation for Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, it will be beneficial to the kharif (paddy) crop and help recharge groundwater. The area under kharif has increased and crossed last year’s cultivation level. The storage in reservoirs is much better than last year’s.

The recharge of groundwater and natural water bodies will boost crop, feed and fodder. Last year there was drought in parts of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Gujarat and there was a loss of about 8 million tonnes of kharif produce.

Between June 1 and 19, early onset of monsoon rain had covered 79 per cent of the country with above normal rainfall. Punjab received 404 per cent of normal rain. Regions that were drought-hit last year like Saurashtra and Kutch in Gujarat, Vidarbha, Marathwada and central Maharashtra, Telangana and Rayalaseema in Andhra Pradesh have received above normal rainfall so far. This not only will help in filling up the groundwater bodies but also give enough moisture and water availability to tide over the kharif season, according to Natural Resource Management expert J.S. Samra.

As per the India Meteorological Department’s data, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Goa, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry have received above normal rainfall.

However, parts of eastern and north-eastern region, including West Bengal, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Manipur have received less than normal rainfall. This will affect kharif paddy sowing in the area which may have to be made up with boro rice cultivation in December. Consistent rainfall is very good for growth of grass that will be fodder for cattle and also the planting of plants and trees, perennial crops and orchards. In fact, the National Rainfed Area Authority (NRAA) has issued an advisory to States, asking them to advise farmers to grow green fodder and feed livestock to help them regain their health that was depleted last kharif. After the rains, kharif sowing has picked up. In Punjab and Haryana rice cultivation begins after June 15. With above normal rainfall, these States are all set to reap the benefit of moisture in the soil.

But for sugarcane and cotton, sowing is reported to be better than last year in rice, pulses, oilseeds, jute and mesta.

The rise, during last week in Delhi’s retail markets, in the prices of potato, onion and tomato is attributed to disruptions in the movement of these products from rain-affected areas. “These are temporary aberrations induced by weather disruptions in transportation and harvesting and will correct within next few days,” Agriculture Secretary Ashish Bahuguna told The Hindu.

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