While the India Meteorological Department has predicted a normal monsoon, spatial forecast models show wide variations in rainfall across the country which can have dire implications for farmers, especially on the north eastern coast and the dryland areas of the Deccan.
For instance, there are likely to be long dry spells and low rainfall in June and July, similar to what happened last year, followed by excess rainfall in the later part of the monsoon in August and September, according to the Agriculture Ministry officials working on an analysis of the seasonal forecast before holding State-level meetings on the likely implications.
There could be a possibility of dwindling rainfall in June and July in the rainfed regions of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, Marathwada and Vidharbha regions of Maharashtra, which could impact rainfed crops, official sources said.
The forecasts also show that below normal rainfall with 40% probability is expected in the coastal region of Odisha, southern part of West Bengal and the north coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh. Advisories may need to be issued for uplands and mid lands in these areas, official sources said.
On the other hand, above normal rainfall is expected in some western States such as Gujarat, Rajasthan, western Madhya Pradesh and north western Maharashtra, which is an opportunity for enhancing production of kharif season crops in these areas, especially those that depend on rainfed agriculture.
The spatial forecast is provided by the South Asia Seasonal Climate Outlook Forum, which includes a number of national agencies led by the World Metorological Organisation, Agriculture Ministry sources said.