India Expects Average Monsoon

NEW DELHI - Apr 18/17 - SNS -- India's Meteorological Department predicts this year's "monsoon seasonal rainfall is likely to be 96% of the Long Period Average (LPA) with an error of plus or minus 5%. Forecast assessment suggests 38% of probability for near normal monsoon rainfall."

The department believes that a weak El Nino event will "develop during the latter part of the monsoon season. However, there is no one to one relationship between El Nino and Indian Monsoon. For example, during 34% of El Nino years, monsoon season rainfall was normal or above normal.

"At present, neutral Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) conditions are prevailing over the Indian Ocean. The latest forecast from the MMCFS indicates weak positive IOD conditions are likely to develop during the middle of the monsoon season and to persist for some more months subsequently. Positive IOD conditions are likely to be favorable for a normal/above normal monsoon."

The closer the monsoon is to normal, more land will be sown to crops, increasing the production potential of the kharif season. More importantly, this will help recharge soil moisture reserves and reservoir levels, which is associated with increased confidence in planting rabi season crops and prospective production levels.

Even if there is an increase in cropped area, land in pulses will likely decline. Though the government is backing up minimum support prices (MSP) by buying pulses from farmers, most farmers cannot access the system and many have sold their crops at prices below the MSP.