CRISIL DRIP: Normal rainfall continues, barring in 3 states and for 3 crops

People walk on a road during monsoon rainfall, at Rajpath in New Delhi | PTI photo
Rainfall continues to be ‘normal’ at an all-India level as of August 15, 2020, but CRISIL’s Deficient Rainfall Impact Parameter (DRIP) points to vulnerability in three states and three crops, as far as monsoon impact on agriculture goes.

Rains gathered pace across India last week after some moderation. It recovered in the northwest, where it had turned mildly deficient, caught up in central India, stayed abundant in the southern peninsula and somewhat slowed in the east. 

For the entire country, rains have been normal (1% above the long period average, or LPA) as of August 15. Region-wise, rains were 23% above LPA in the southern peninsula (Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu seeing excess rains), 7% above LPA in the east, and 3% above LPA in central India and 18% below LPA in the northwest. At the regional level, rains are considered normal if they are less than 20% below or above normal. 

Well-spread and bountiful rains this year bode well for most states except a few like Bihar and Andhra Pradesh, where excess rains have brought woes, and others like Rajasthan, where rains are in deficiency. Except for Rajasthan, though, none are large kharif crop producers. Here, rains turned deficient by mid-July but the week ended August 15 saw some catch-up.

Overall, abundant rains have supported sowing activity. Despite some moderation in recent weeks (expected, given that over 95% of the total kharif acreage has already been covered this season as of August 14), sowing progress has been healthy, at 8.5% higher on-year. Progress is fastest in rice and oilseeds (14% higher on-year for both). But rainfall volume data alone does not tell the whole story. There is a need to consider vulnerabilities that arise from inadequate irrigation for a comprehensive perspective on states and crops.

CRISIL’s DRIP does just that. DRIP provides a better assessment of deficiency because it considers the irrigation buffer available for states and crops. The higher the DRIP score, more adverse the impact of deficient rains. It compares scores not only with the previous year’s, but also with the last five-year average to get a holistic picture.

The DRIP score for Rajasthan is both, higher on-year and than the last five-year average given that the state experienced a stretch of weak rains. In MP and Odisha, rainfall remains within the ‘normal’ band, but has been moderating. With relatively lower irrigation cover, their DRIP scores have risen to above  average levels.  Among crops, DRIP scores are high for bajra (Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh are producers), soybean (MP, Rajasthan and Odisha), and maize (MP and Rajasthan). 

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