El Nino unlikely to affect cash crops’ acreage during kharif season

Amid expectations El Nino moderate seasonal rainfall reduced In India this year, the Ministry of Agriculture has set a target of 44 million tonnes of oilseeds, slightly short of its target of 47.36 metric tonnes under the National Edible Oils-Oilseeds Mission.

However, given the progress made in sowing areas under different cash crops since 2015, when El Nino last hit the country, the Khareef area may not see any significant decline even if rainfall is deficient, experts said.

separate entities

“One is area and the other is production and both must be considered separately. Since the main sowing usually ends in the first two months, the distribution of rainfall during that period is the main factor. Even in rainfed areas, no farmer keeps the land uncultivated except when there is Complete drought,” said a senior government official.

Citing the acreage of rice during the last fall season when many areas in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar suffered from a lack of rainfall, he said that the acreage was not affected as much as the crop. He also said that in 2015 the area of ​​soybeans was 116.05 hectares (lh), which increased to 120.37 lh in 2022. Production jumped, during the same time, from 8.57 tons to 13.98 tons.

The monsoon rainfall in the first month of 2015 was 115.6 percent of average and the season ended at 86.2 percent of normal as there was a lack of rainfall during the subsequent three months. In addition, of the 36 meteorological subdivisions, 19 had normal/excess precipitation (covering 61 percent of the country) and only 17 subdivisions (39 percent of the region) reported deficient precipitation. Even the production of food grains in 2015-16 was 0.5 metric tons lower than the previous year.

Coverage matters

“The government may have conservatively estimated the production of some crops, but it is too early to speculate because space is one of the many factors of production,” said a former agricultural commissioner. He suggested that available seeds for alternative crops should be kept ready so that farmers could take advantage of them if a particular area needed them due to late or insufficient rains.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) said that the production of corn (maize), soybeans and rice in India may be affected by the possible El Nino weather phenomenon, which could cause severe droughts in Australia, Indonesia and parts of South Asia.

“After experiencing three consecutive years of La Niña that brought bumper crops for some and crop failures for others, it’s likely we’re heading straight for El Niño,” he said. The Food and Agriculture Organization’s Agriculture and Market Information System (AMIS) said:.

AMIS said the “likely” El Niño effect is uncertain as no two events are the same in terms of strength, duration or local thinning. “However, based on historical data, certain crops and regions can be highlighted as potentially having impacts on yield,” she said.

The current forecast is for a “moderate” El Nino in 2023 while it was “strong” in 2015.