India receives lowest rainfall in 5 years, agricultural production to hit | Weather News

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Deficit rainfall could affect crops such as rice and sugar pushing food inflation amid rising global food prices.

Monsoon rainfall in India this year was the lowest since 2018 as the El Nino weather pattern made August the driest in over a century, the state weather department said on Saturday. which is likely to affect agricultural production.

El Nino is a warming of the waters of the Pacific Ocean that is usually accompanied by drier conditions over the Indian subcontinent.

The monsoon, vital to India’s $3 trillion economy, delivers more than 70 percent of the water the country needs to irrigate crops and refill reservoirs and aquifers.

Almost half of the agricultural land in the world’s most populous country is irrigated, making monsoon water even more important for agricultural production.

The summer water deficit could make staples such as sugar, pulses, rice and vegetables more expensive and raise overall food inflation.

Lower production could also encourage India, the world’s second-largest producer of rice, wheat and sugar, to put more curbs on exports of those commodities amid rising global food prices. is rising.

Indian farmers plant paddy in a field
The water deficit will affect sugarcane and rice among other crops. [File: Rajesh Kumar Singh/AP Photo]

Erratic waters

Rainfall across the country between June and September was 94 percent of its long-term average, the lowest since 2018, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said in a statement.

The IMD had expected a water deficit of 4 percent for the season, assuming that El Nino had little effect.

The monsoon was uneven, with rainfall in June nine percent below average due to the delay in the arrival of rains, but July rains rebounded to 13 percent above average.

August was the driest on record with a deficit of 36 per cent, but again in September the rainfall changed and the country received 13 per cent more rain than usual, said the IMD.

The erratic distribution of monsoon rains has forced India, the world’s largest rice exporter, to freeze rice shipments, impose a 40 percent tax on onion exports, allow imports of tariffs on pulses, which could lead to New Delhi banning sugar exports.

The country is expected to receive normal rainfall from October to December, the weather department said, adding that temperatures were likely to remain above normal in most parts of the country in October.

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