Monsoon in India and its effect on agriculture!
This editorial is based on the article “Make a drop count: Southwest monsoon patterns are changing” published in The Times of India on 29/06/2021. It is based on an analysis of the impact of the changing southwest monsoon pattern on Indian agriculture.
The most important feature of India’s climate southwest monsoon. Because it is very important for Indian agriculture. Therefore the long-term trends of the southwest monsoon overlap with economic security.
On Monsoon Variability during the 30 Year Period (1989–2018) IMD A recent study has come out according to which Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal are such 5 Of the states, there are three states that have seen a significant reduction in the southwest monsoon. These states have a great impact on the agricultural production of India.
About 55% of India’s arable land is dependent on rainfall. The amount of rainfall during the current monsoon season can affect economic activities related to the agriculture sector and its associated industries.
A change in monsoon can have serious consequences for India’s economy, food systems and public interest. Therefore, there is a need to take remedial measures before the situation gets out of hand.
Meaning of monsoon
It is worth noting that this word is derived from the Arabic word Mausim, which means the mood of the winds.
- In winter, the winds blow from north-east to south-west direction, which is called winter monsoon. On the other hand, in the summer season the winds blow in the opposite direction, which is called the south-west monsoon or summer monsoon.
- Since these winds helped merchants in sailing in the past, they are also called trade winds or ‘trade winds’.
Monsoon in India:
- The climate of India is described as ‘monsoon’ type. This type of climate is found mainly in the south and southeast in Asia.
- Out of the total 4 seasonal parts of India monsoon it is divided into 2 parts, namely:
- South-West Monsoon Season — The rainfall received from the South-West monsoon is seasonal, occurring between June and September.
- Withdrawal of Monsoon- The months of October and November are known for the withdrawal or withdrawal of monsoon.
Relationship between monsoon and agriculture
- The south-west monsoon plays an important role in India’s agriculture and affects the livelihood of most of the world’s population.
- About 80 percent of the annual rainfall in India occurs during the summer period and water is supplied to crops through irrigation, etc., during the major agricultural season.
- During the south-west monsoon, cultivation of monsoon friendly crops with high water requirement like sugarcane, jute and paddy can be done easily.
- The agricultural sector in India is important both economically and politically. This sector accounts for about 14% of the country’s $2.7 trillion economy and 42% of the total employment.
- Also about one-third of India’s manufacturing output; Which is about 18% of the country’s GDP, is linked to food processing.
- Therefore, too much rainfall or too little or unstable monsoon pattern can damage crops.
Effect of changing monsoon
- Water level drop: A little over 50% of its total cropped area in India is under rainfall and a large part of the irrigated area depends on irrigation through borewells, which need to be recharged with groundwater.
- In case of bad monsoon, these ground water sources are not recharged adequately which can lead to water crisis.
- Apart from this, a report published by NITI Aayog had predicted zero groundwater potential in around 21 Indian cities (including New Delhi, Hyderabad and Chennai) by the year 2020.
- financial burden: The government may need to actively support farmers when many crops fail. Most likely, this could prompt the government to raise the minimum support price for all crops of the current season to support the income of farmers.
- This can reduce agricultural investment.
- Affecting power generation: Water obtained from monsoon rains can be used as hydropower, a valuable energy resource. Hydropower currently provides 25% of India’s total electricity supply.
- The reservoirs are filled during the south-west monsoon rains and then this water is slowly released through dams, which generate electricity throughout the year.
- When monsoon rains are low, reservoirs do not store enough water, limiting the amount of hydroelectric power produced by the water.
- Affecting Inflation: Normal monsoon rains keep food inflation under check due to availability of food products. However, in the event of drought, the prices related to food products increase significantly.
- In addition, the country may also need to import food grains if poor monsoon results in low crop production.
- It also affects more than a dozen regions that directly or indirectly depend on the monsoon.
- Removal of water scarcity: Availability of water is a national challenge. We have 18% of the world’s population and only 4% of freshwater resources.
- Thus the Government of India needs to give high priority to huge investments in better water storage systems for the agriculture sector.
- “More crop per drop” approach would be worthwhile to give high priority to rainwater harvesting, water recharge, rejuvenation of water bodies and conservation technologies.
- Addressing inefficient water use: Water use patterns in India are extremely inefficient. Here Indian farmers use two to four times more water to produce one unit of any major food crop.
- Thus Indian agriculture needs to rapidly adopt new and less water-intensive technologies.
- For this, there is a need to double the efforts to encourage the use of micro-irrigation measures such as schemes being run by the Government of India. These schemes encourage the use of water more efficiently.
Global climate change is not a new phenomenon. Many threats have arisen from the effects of climate change. One of its important consequences is the change in the southwest monsoon and its impact on agriculture.
As India has set a target of halving greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050. Keeping this in mind, there is an urgent need for coordinated efforts to strengthen research to assess the impact of climate change on agriculture, forestry, animal husbandry, aquatic animals and other organisms.