Wednesday, September 13, 2017

A looming Indian drought

Around 59% of India has received substantially less rainfall as compared to previous years, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) data shows, raising apprehension that poor agriculture output could adversely impact the economy. 

Although the overall deficit is 6%, India’s food bowl states of Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh received up to 36% less rainfall than the long-term average rainfall. These states account for almost half of the country’s food production.

In addition, large parts of agriculturally significant Maharashtra, Telangana, Karnataka and Kerala received less rainfall than previous years, and face drought for the third year in a row.

Chandigarh-based economist Devendra Sharma said scanty rainfall may reduce the farm growth this year by half as the area of impact is vast. “The impact on production will be huge,” he said, and added that the country’s agriculture sector was going through its “worst phase” and nobody was talking about it.

Madhya Pradesh, which has received up to 30% less rain. Only four of the 51 districts in the state have received normal rainfall while in regions such as Bundelkhand, the deficiency is as high as 59%.

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