El Nino phenomenon could affect agriculture sector in India this yr
Posted On March 12, 2023
The El Nino phenomenon, which occurs normally after every three to five years, may impact the weather in India this year, thus affecting the agriculture sector.
Monsoon rains are impacted the most by the El Nino phenomenon. And as rains are essential for agricultural activities, El Nino is likely to cause worry to India, said an agriculture scientist, requesting anonymity.
However at the same time there is a divergent view on this.
According to P.K. Joshi, former director (South Asia) of International Food Policy Research Institute, even if there are deficient rains owing to the El Nino effect this year, surplus rainfall areas, especially southern India may not be impacted much in terms of crop loss, as marginally deficient rainfalls do not cause any serious threat to crops there.
Even in northern India, Joshi said, in case of poor rains, states like Punjab and Haryana won’t be impacted that much as they have good irrigation facilities.
Moreover, he said that it remains to be seen whether El Nino impacts rains in India this year or not, as the monsoon season is quite far away and also the Rabi season is more or less over, so as of now any crop loss kind of a scenario seems unlikely in the country.
According to the Meteorological Department, heat waves, however, are forecast in March to May at 3 to 5 degrees above normal.
India will inevitably experience a severe pre-and post-monsoon phenomenon, which will affect the agriculture sector, it said.
If agricultural activities are hit by El Nino, it may go on to impact the Indian economy also, as shortage of commodities would lead to a rise in inflation.
The phenomenon occurs when the sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean rise.
As per reports, El Nino, whenever it has occurred, has left a considerable impact on rains in India, leading to below normal rainfall across the country.
There have been drought like situations too due to the phenomenon.
This leads to crop loss, resulting in rising food prices.
The monsoon months of June-September are crucial for Indian farmers as almost 70 per cent of the Indian subcontinent receives rain during this period.
Being an agrarian economy, India depends on monsoon for good crops. Agriculture constitutes 20 per cent of India’s GDP.
With El Nino impact likely to be seen this year, if rainfall is impacted, then it could adversely affect major crops like rice, sugar, cereals, pulses and others, leading to a shortage of essential food items and giving rise to inflation.
Also, with a major part of the population dependent on agriculture, a poor season could impact their livelihoods also.
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