Private weather forecaster Skymet on Tuesday predicted that southwest monsoon will hit the Kerala coast on June 4, three days behind the usual date, with the overall rainfall across the country to be below-normal at 93% of the benchmark long-period average (LPA).
Though the agency s rainfall forecast is dimmer than 96% of LPA seen by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) in its first forecast on April 15, the chances of rain deficit adversely impacting the overall kharif foodgrain output are less as key crop-producing areas like north-west region are expected to receive good rains through the season.
However, there are concerns over some key crops like cotton and soyabean likely witnessing a drop in yield.
Recent years saw robust food grain production, though the monsoon was below-normal in the last two years. It is another matter that rise in grain output may not necessarily address rural distress.
LPA is 89 cm of rainfall and 96-104% of LPA is reckoned as normal .
Monsoon is expected to reach Andaman and Nicobar islands on May 22, Skymet said. East and north-east India and central parts will see poorer rainfall than north-west and south peninsula regions. It seems that initial advancement of monsoon over peninsular India is going to be slow, Skymet CEO Jatin Singh said.
North-west region comprising Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, among others, will receive 96% rainfall. Singh said hilly states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand are likely to perform better than the plains of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.
Skymet added central India is likely to receive 91% rainfall. If that proves correct, yield of soybean crop may drop since it is mainly grown in Madhya Pradesh and western Maharashtra. Poor rainfall can also hit cotton, sugarcane and pulses crops in Vidarbha and Marathwada areas of Maharashtra. If Gujarat receives deficient rains, it will be second consecutive year. The state had faced drought in many parts like the Saurashtra and Kutch last year.
Peninsular India too remains at small risk this season, with the expected rains at 95% of LPA. The regional records for 716 mm of rains that accounts for 19% of the total monsoon. North interior Karnataka and Rayalaseema may see poor rainfall while Kerala and coastal Karnataka are likely to perform better, Skymet said.
Output of kharif pulses like tur and moong may be lowered as north interior Karnataka is a major producing region for pulses.
East and north-east India will get 92% rainfall in the monsoon season. which falls under the below normal category. Geographical risk remains high for Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, while marginal for north-east region, Singh said.
India had seen below deficient monsoon in 2014 and 2015 where the 2013 was one of above normal rainfall.