The delay in arrival of southwest monsoon by a week is unlikely to have any significant impact on sowing of kharif crops, said Agriculture Secretary Shobhana K Patnaik.
Southwest monsoon has hit Andaman and Nicobar Islands on Thursday, but the current cyclone in the Bay of Bengal will “weaken its progress”, thereby delaying onset of monsoon in Kerala, as per the India Meteorological Department (IMD).
Normally, it takes 10 days for monsoon to hit Kerala and IMD has projected that it would set over Kerala on June 7 with a model error of plus or minus four days.
“The IMD has forecast six days delay plus or minus four days in arrival of monsoon. We are keeping a close watch. We feel a week’s delay in arrival of rains may not have significant impact on the kharif sowing,” Patnaik told media.
Even if there is delay, rains are expected to make progress after June 7 and boost sowing operation, he said.
Stating that present water level in reservoirs is low, Patnaik said the state governments have been asked to keep ready with district-wise contingency plan in case the monsoon delays further, he said.
The government has positioned sufficient supply of fertilisers, quality and certified seeds and other necessary farm inputs for the kharif sowing at state levels, he added.
Southwest monsoon, the lifeline of India’s agriculture, starts in June and its progress triggers sowing of kharif crops like rice, pulses, corn, sugarcane, cotton and soyabean is undertaken.
IMD has forecast above normal rains this year after two consecutive years of drought.