Apr 12, 2016 10:26 PM IST | Source: CNBC-TV18

Above normal monsoon big positive; agri to benefit: Experts

The Indian Metrological Department (IMD) today said that the monsoon this year is likely to be above average at 106 percent level of long period average (LPA).

Above normal monsoon big positive; agri to benefit: Experts
The Indian Metrological Department (IMD) today said that the monsoon this year is likely to be above average at 106 percent level of long period average (LPA). The forecaster also said that chances of drought are slim this year.

Private weather forecaster Skymet also has same prediction for the monsoon this year.

In a discussion on CNBC-TV18, Ashok Gulati, Chair Professor, Agriculture - ICRIER, Abhijit Sen, Professor JNU and Rajesh Aggarwal, MD & CEO, Insecticides India discuss the positives of this news on the economy.

Below is the transcript of Ashok Gulati, Chair Professor, Agriculture - ICRIER, Abhijit Sen, Professor JNU and Rajesh Aggarwal, MD & CEO, Insecticides India on CNBC-TV18.

Latha: 106 percent and a 94 percent probability that it will be a normal to excess rainfall. What is your first thought?

Aggarwal: It is a wonderful announcement because farmer has been longing for this, because we have seen two consecutive years of scanty rainfall and farmer has been suffering. For agriculture it is a wonderful news and it should increase the food productivity for the country and of course, it is a very good signal for the agricultural companies and all agri input companies.

Latha: Will it affect agriculture very much if there were a delayed start? I mean, we just had the expert from Skymet tell us that there is a minor chance of the monsoon getting delayed or June not being as good as the rest of the months.

Aggarwal: If the announcements are great, then people will be prepared. And if it gets delayed, particularly the rice sowing, it may get delayed by 10 days or something like that.

So, it will not hardly matter as a whole because the volumes are very important and the consistency of the rains is also very important. The delay will not matter a lot I believe.

Latha: I hope a delayed rainfall won't mean too much harm. Of course it will be a lot of hardship but will that harm crops too much?

Gulati: Actually at that if the message is clear that we are going to have 15 days delay drinking water may be a problem. Some people will be getting squashed in the sun but delay of 15 days in sowing doesn't really matter much provided the prediction is robust enough.

So, I am thinking when Jatin was saying that there could be normal or above normal much during August and September if people sow early and then in September if the crop is getting ready and you have pockets which are flooded that can create a problem. So, we have to carefully watch and advice to farmers for some little late sowing.

Now, what is the Skymet saying and what the IMD is saying we have to listen very carefully and plan our strategy and advice to farmers accordingly.

Latha: From what you have heard, does it look like the long lean patch ends? What is the impact for agriculture and for the Indian economy?

Sen: It is good news. It is not entirely unexpected; in fact I think most of us were pretty sure that this year’s rainfall was going to be good. However, I think one ought to dampen ones spirit a little bit; all of this will only kick in at least a month after the monsoon starts, possibly two months.

So, we are talking really about at the earliest July, most likely August, full effect September. The MET office has already predicted a very hot April-June and people suffering from drought will simply hear the news, things are going to get worse till the monsoon actually arrives. So, this is news and this is also not news, what it is, is a forecast.

The MET office has been wrong in the past, it can be wrong in the future.

However, this time around, Skymet and IMD are saying exactly the same thing and I think that goes with almost everyone’s feeling that you can’t have three bad rainfalls in a row.

Latha: If you heard what the Additional DG was telling us, does it give you a sense that we are getting in some early relief or at least timely relief?

Sen: I think what he said is informative and I think it is good news again. On the other hand, the point is, that he is talking as a metrologist, he is saying whether the rainfall will be normal or not.

What I am looking at it is really as someone concerned with agriculture and we are concerned with the way drought situations on the ground need time to adjust as rainfall comes in. So, even with a normal rainfall say for Marathwada, for Marathwada to start actually looking normal on the ground, will take another month or two, at least.
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