Grain Output Testing Record with Stronger Monsoon
Forecasts for the first above-average monsoon in India in three years is set to boost planting of crops from rice to oilseeds, with record food grain output possible after two years of shortfall.
Rainfall from June is seen at 106% of the 50-year average of 89 cm as the El Nino that often triggers dry weather weakens, the India Meteorological Department said on Tuesday.
The forecast has a margin of error of 5%. Showers may be105% of the mean, Skymet Weather Services, said on Monday.
The prediction for a stronger monsoon after the first back-toback deficit in 30 years is seen bolstering Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s aim to double farmer income in five years and stem the slide in popularity ahead of key state elections next year. Output of crops including rice, sugar cane and oilseed all fell last season increasing the cost of food in India.
“Food grain production may touch previous records or it may cross” above them, KK Singh, head of the agro meteorological divi- sion of the state forecaster, said by phone on Tuesday. The June-September rains are crucial to keep food prices in check as the rainfall in that period accounts for 80% of India’s total and waters more than 50% of farmland. The central bank cut its key interest rate for the first time in six months on April 5 with Governor Raghuram Rajan saying he would watch its performance to look for more room to ease. “With a good monsoon we will look at a larger production while prices will certainly reduce,” Pravin Dongre, chairman of the India Pulses and Grains Association, said on Tuesday. —Bloomberg