INDIAN weather department officials on Wednesday(30) said that the country received above average rains for second year in a row, which is the first time in more than six decades.
India’s monsoon rains in 2020 were 9 per cent above average, official data stated.
According to officials the heavy rainfall replenished reservoirs and built up ground water, helping assuage water shortages in pockets of the country.
Intense monsoon rains also caused floods in many parts of the country including commercial and finance hub Mumbai.
Heavy downpours damaged some summer-sown crops that are close to being harvested such as cotton, pulses, rice, soybeans though the rains will also help farmers plant more winter-sown crops like chickpeas, rapeseed, rice and wheat.
“Rarely we get above average rainfall for two straight years. It happened earlier in 1958 and 1959,” said a senior official with the India Meteorological Department (IMD).
Analysts said bumper winter-sown crops should improve earnings for farmers down the line and help revive rural demand hit badly by the coronavirus pandemic.
Farming accounts for about 15 per cent of India’s $2.9 trillion economy but employs more than half of its population.
The monsoon delivers about 70 per cent of India’s annual rainfall and determines the yield of crops such as rice, wheat, sugarcane and oilseeds.
Farmers are likely to expand areas planted with winter-sown crops due to the ample soil moisture and an increase in the price the government pays for some crops, said Subhranil Dey, senior research analyst at commodity brokerage SMC Comtrade Ltd in New Delhi.
India’s monsoon generally begins in June and starts to retreat from northwestern parts of the country by September 17, but this year it only began to withdraw on September 28, the IMD said earlier this week.
Water levels in India’s main reservoirs were at 93 per cent of their storage capacity as of September 24 above the 10-year average of 79 per cent, government data shows.