Farming experts have predicted that the uneven distribution of rain in India during the current south-west monsoon could adversely affect food production, warning that the nation is ill-equipped to alter its crop patterns at short notice.
“The rainfall across the country is excessive somewhere, normal in some places and deficient in some other places. The Kharif crops, mainly cereals, were to be sown between 25 June and 15 July. Now the farmers have to change the crops. They have to change to pulses or short-duration oil seed crops. The deficient rainfall may also affect the Rabi crops, as the groundwater level would also be depleted,” Dr P.L. Maliwal, former Director of Agricultural University in Jodhpur told Sputnik.
Dr. Maliwal said the ongoing climate change requires farmers to shift to compatible crops, in case the subcontinent's monsoon season fails to deliver enough water. However, the implementation of any contingency plan is absent. He also noted that available research on climate-resistant crops is inadequate.
“We have drawn up a national plan to change the cropping pattern [to suit] the changing climate situation. But unfortunately, its implementation is zero. For example, if the rainfall is deficient up to July 15, farmers should not go for cereals, but go for pulse crops. Farmers want to change the crops, but the seeds are not easily available. There should be a seed bank, where seeds of all varieties of crops and seasons are readily available,” commented Dr. Maliwal, who was one of the members of a panel which had drafted a national contingency plan.
While the shortage of rainfall is affecting the western and northwestern region of the country, excessive rainfall in some parts of the eastern and northeastern region of India is causing havoc.
According to Skymet, India’s lone private weather service agency, several regions in the northeast of India have been experiencing heavy rainfall during the past several days and it will continue until 13 or 14 July.
Three people were killed in flood-related incidents in the northeastern state of Assam, while 4,00,000 people were marooned until Thursday (11 July), according to state government officials. Over 250 villages were inundated and several thousand acres of paddy fields submerged.