By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: In a finding that could help predict drought, farm
scientists have noticed that deficit rainfall and drought follow a
chronological pattern repeating every 2.5 years in Telangana and
Rayalaseema and once in five years in coastal Andhra.
According to a study of rain pattern in peninsular India by the Indian
Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), the frequency of deficit
rainfall and resultant drought is once in 2.5 years in Rayalaseema and
Telangana, three years in entire Tamil Nadu, four years in Vidarbha
and north interior Karnataka, and once in five years in coastal Andhra
Pradesh, south interior Karnataka and Madhya Maharashtra.
Peninsular India witnessed El Nino during 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2009
resulting in deficit rainfall and consequent fall in production of
food grains. The years that followed showed increased farm out put.
The ICAR has also warned that the uncertainties related to monsoons
will stay and even might increase in future due to climate change. “It
is important to evolve strategies to cope with these uncertainties.
This can be done only by fully using existing scientific knowledge on
early warning systems, crop planning in relation to progress of
monsoon and timely dissemination of weather-based agro advisories to
farmers,” says ICAR’s report on “Contingency crop planning for 100
districts in peninsular India”. The city-based Central Research
Institute for Dryland Agriculture (Crida) prepared the contingency
According to the ICAR report, “any deviation from the normal rainfall
pattern seriously affects production of food grains, fodder
availability to livestock, supply of raw materials to agro-industries,
livelihoods of rural workforce and reduces food grain supplies to the
central pool for public distribution. It leads to increase in prices
and inflation and finally affects the share of agriculture in GDP.”
Agriculture in peninsular India is predominantly rainfed with 57 per
cent area in Andhra
Pradesh, 70 per cent in Karnataka and Kerala, 82 per cent in
Maharashtra and 43 per cent in Tamil Nadu falling under rainfed
farming. The problem is compounded in case of mid-season breaks in
monsoon between July and September. “This implies regular monsoon
failures in one part or the other in this region results in serious
consequences for small and marginal farmers and livelihoods of the
rural poor. Breaks in monsoon are responsible for deficit soil
moisture conditions during early, mid and late season.
The major crops cultivated in Andhra Pradesh during kharif season
under rainfed conditions are cotton, pigeonpea, groundnut, green gram,
maize and black gram and under irrigated conditions are rice, cotton,
sugarcane, maize, pearl millet, sunflower and groundnut.
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