Representative image | Photo: PTI
Rains across the country improved slightly in the week ended August 29 with cumulative precipitation reported at 6 per cent below the long-period average (LPA), compared to 7 per cent in the preceding week.
July and August are key months for kharif sowing, so it would be apt to assess the rainfall distribution. For most of July and August, rain continued to evade key kharif crop-growing states such as Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat, Bihar and West Bengal, where deficiency was 14-24 per cent.
Of these, however, Gujarat and West Bengal appear more affected because of low irrigation cover.
Rainfall volume data alone, therefore, is not sufficient to assess the distribution impact. It’s important to measure that along with irrigation levels. Some states have reasonably good irrigation levels, and hence weak rain is unlikely to harm crops sown there. And that’s where CRISIL’s Deficient Rainfall Impact Parameter, or DRIP, provides a good assessment of deficiency because it considers the irrigation buffer available. The higher the CRISIL DRIP score, the more adverse the impact of deficient rain.
This week’s DRIP scores continue to highlight the strain in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Bihar and West Bengal, where the scores are higher than those of last year and above the average of the past five years.
But crop-wise DRIP scores show stress in two crops — groundnut (largely cultivated in rain-deficient Gujarat) and rice (West Bengal) — where the scores are higher than in 2017 as well as the past average. The relatively low area under irrigation for these two crops in Gujarat and West Bengal pushes up the DRIP scores.
We will continue to track DRIP scores for September, but with the southwest monsoon now retreating, the situation at the crop and state level is unlikely to alter much unless rain conditions change drastically.
Note: DRIP scores are for rainfall data from June 1 to August 29 for each year
Source: Indian Meteorological Department, Ministry of Agriculture, CRISIL