Despite an early start, the intermittent breaks and slow progress of the monsoon in India had left farmers, policymakers and other stakeholders a worried lot.
The monsoon set its footprint in India on May 29, three days ahead of its normal onset of June 1. Heavy rainfall was witnessed in the first week of June in the south peninsula states especially in Kerala and Karnataka with heavy showers damaging thousands of hectares of coffee, pepper and cardamom plantation.
The monsoon progress was steady till June 13 covering the entire southern peninsula, parts of northeast India and Maharashtra. However, rainfall remained week in central and northwest India evoking fear of delayed sowing. Soothing nerves, the rains progressed further from June 24 to cover the entire country by June 29.
Overall, cumulative rainfall in India from June 1 to 29 was 149.4 mm, 4 per cent below normal. Out of four regions, south peninsula and northwest India received surplus rains, while east and northeast India recorded deficit. Rainfall in the southern peninsula was 181.8 mm, 20 per cent above normal, while in east and northeast India, monsoon rainfall was lower by 26 per cent. Central India and northwest India recorded rainfall of -1 per cent and 12 per cent, respectively, with rainfall of 154.1 mm and 71.9 mm. The monsoons are expected to stay strong in July, which is crucial for the progress of sowing activities.
Meanwhile, the central government is yet to announce the marginal support price (MSP) for the 2018-19 Kharif season. MSP gains significance as the government has promised to make it 50 per cent over the cost of production. Announcement of higher MSP will directly influence the sowing activities of major crops leading to higher acreage.
The author is a fundamental analyst at Karvy Comtrade Limited