Experts say the absence of pre-monsoon rains damages vegetable crops and affects the preparations for kharif crops
The Southwest Monsoon for 2022 has started, with rains in the Andaman and Nicobar islands. Its progress has been normal so far. But pre-monsoonal rains have been extremely unusual this time.
Data from March 1 to May 17 shows that although India has received only seven per cent less rainfall than normal, the distribution of rainfall has not been even.
Some 88 districts (13 per cent) in the country have not received any rainfall at all. Another 242 districts (35 per cent) have received ‘large deficit’ rainfall, while 124 districts (18 per cent) have received ‘deficient’ rainfall.
Twenty to 59 per cent less rainfall than normal is called ‘deficit’, while 60 to 99 per cent less rainfall than normal is called ‘large deficit’, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD).
Only 13 per cent of India (91 districts) has received ‘normal’ rainfall. Another 13 per cent (92) of the country has received ‘large access’ rainfall and are experiencing flood conditions. The final eight per cent (57 districts) have received more rainfall.
Twelve states have received very little rainfall from March 1 to May 17, while seven states have received scanty rainfall.
Only three states have received normal rainfall. Eight states have received very heavy rainfall and six states have received excess rainfall. There was no rain at all in the Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli.
Gujarat has received the lowest pre-monsoon rainfall. It has received 97 per cent less rainfall. The state normally receives 2.6 millimetre (mm) of rainfall during this period but has received only 0.1 mm of it. Some 25 of Gujarat’s 33 districts have not received any rainfall at all.
Punjab has received 90 per cent less rainfall than normal, followed by 85 per cent in Himachal Pradesh, 87 per cent in Haryana, 78 per cent in Rajasthan, 75 per cent in Uttar Pradesh, 78 per cent in Jammu and Kashmir, 73 per cent in Maharashtra and 87 per cent in Delhi.
There was no rain at all in 21 districts of Uttar Pradesh. Fifteen districts of Maharashtra, 13 districts of Madhya Pradesh, five districts of Rajasthan and four districts of Haryana have not received any rainfall at all.
Most of these states receive rainfall during the Southwest Monsoon, although the pre-monsoon rains also matter a lot.
Experts said these states in north India are reeling under severe heat wave conditions due to the absence of pre-monsoon rains. The heat will subside if it rains.
Nabansu Chattopadhyay, who has been the head of the meteorological division of the IMD, told Down to Earth that the temperature was very high due to the absence of pre-monsoon rains in March-April.
This not only damaged the rabi crops, but the farmers who cultivate vegetables besides the zaid (summer) crop between rabi and kharif have also suffered losses.
He said if the right volume of pre-monsoon rains fall, vegetable farmers do not have to irrigate two to three times. This reduces their cost.
But if there is no rain, their expenditure on irrigation increases, due to which they not only suffer losses, but vegetables also become expensive.
Chattopadhyaya said the lack of pre-monsoon rains also has an impact on kharif crops. If the pre-monsoon rains are sufficient, the kharif crops get a lot of support. Especially those farmers who plant paddy, start preparing the fields in advance due to the moisture.
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