Kharif, also known as monsoon season, is the most crucial season for the Indian subcontinent as it decides on the availability of food crops for the country as well as water resources for all activities. The Kharif-2020 has been bountiful for the India as it set into the country on normal onset date and covered the entire country around 15 days prior to the normal date. As a result, the country as whole had received nine per cent higher rainfall during the period from June 1, 2020, to September 2, 2020. All the zones, which are divided based on meteorological subdivision, have received excel rainfall except North West India. Central India and Southern Peninsula have received 20 per cent higher rainfall than long period average.
Early coverage of monsoon brought cheers to the farming community and raised hopes of rise in acreage under various crops grown during monsoon season. Cheering to the good monsoon, Indian farmers have brought more area under cultivation of various crops, which has resulted into exceeding of previous 5-years average. The total area brought under cultivation of various crops at the end of August stood at 1095.38 lakh hectares, which is higher by six per cent than previous year and three per cent higher than previous 5-year average. Area under rice cultivation is higher by eight per cent than last year at 396.18 lakh hectares, while pulses acreage was increased by five per cent than last year and six per cent than 5-year average, which is standing at 136.79 lakh hectares. Coarse cereals acreage is remaining more or less than that of last year and it is slightly lower than 5-year average because of lower return on cultivation of cereals crops against other crops. Oilseeds received a biggest boost with acreage rising by 12 per cent over last year and nine per cent over 5-year average thanks to various initiatives taken by the central and state governments to attain self sufficiency in oilseeds production and reduce import dependency. Amongst the oilseeds, groundnut area increased by 33 per cent over last year due to better than expected rainfall in major producing areas and higher price realization compared to other crops.
Now, the country entered last month of the monsoon season wherein the country will witness withdrawal of rainfall. Heavy to very heavy rainfall in the central India in August had resulted into submerging of the agricultural lands thereby leading to crop loss. The extent of crop loss to be assessed to understand the production numbers for the current Kharif season. Though there are reports of crop damage, it is estimated that the country can produce bumper Kharif crops in the current year, which will somehow reduce the country’s dependence of imports.
The writer is head (commodity & currency research) at Karvy Comtrade Ltd