Why Monsoon is Important for Indian Agriculture and Food Security ?

By Arunav Goel for NeemTree Agro Solutions

On 1st June, southwest rainfall made an onset over Kerala, marking the
commencement of the four-month-long monsoon season, said the India Meteorological Department. Monsoon is the most anticipated weather phenomenon especially by the farmers for whom, the monsoons are a lifeline. It is also economically important and is a subject of severe research for it’s best possible predictions and understanding.
The Indian monsoon is a four-month long proceeding taking place from June to
September every year and accounts for 75 percent of the total rainfall in India. Despite an improvement in the irrigation system over the years, the dependence of the farmers on the monsoon remains significant. The production of Kharif crops which include paddy, maize, and cotton to name a few is directly related to the amount of rainfall during the season.
Poor monsoon rains could lead to some drastic results like crop failures which in turn would affect the economy in a negative manner due to the fall in exports, and leave millions of farmers with serious income crunches. It would also cause inflation in the crop prices.

Even more dangerous are the uneven monsoons, which are defined by floods and
droughts, sometimes in the same area. It is the phenomenon of heavier than usual
rainfall for a short period of time followed by a prolonged period of dryness. Uneven rainfall leads to severe disruptions to the plans and preparations of the farmers and has been responsible for destroying the fortunes of thousands of farmers over the years. Also since, about one-third of the manufacturing industry of India, which contributes about 18% to the GDP, is linked with using agricultural products, a poor monsoon would pull down not just the agricultural sector but also the industries linked with it. Over the years, the average annual temperatures have been rising, and the average annual rainfall has been declining. According to a study, if in a year the rainfall is in the 1st decile ie the driest possible in a season, Kharif yields in irrigated areas would be 13% lower than if rainfall was normal, the number rising to 18% for unirrigated areas. Hence, if we hypothesize from the observed decline in average rainfall over the past decades, farm incomes might decline by as much as 12% for Kharif crops and 5.4% for Rabi crops in unirrigated areas by the end of the century.
Given the unpredictability and unreliability of the monsoons, and to ensure the safety of crops as well as farmers in case of a poor monsoon, the need of the hour to incur the least negative impact of monsoons on Indian agriculture is to:

Develop policies and use technologies to boost up the production and
furthermore, reduce the dependency upon monsoons.
● Improving the irrigation facilities, in the most efficient way possible like the
interlinking of rivers, and implementation of micro-irrigation projects.
● Proper and accurate forecasts of the upcoming rainfall, so that the farmer can
make smart decisions based on the available data.
● Development of seeds, crop varieties, and cropping techniques which would be
more resilient to the peculiarities of the climate.
● Promotion of Agro-forestry and Mixed cropping (polyculture) that is growing two
or more crops like paddy and millets simultaneously, to cover up in case of failure
of one of the crops.
● Nurture rainwater harvesting, to save water and recharge the groundwater table

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