In a spot of sunshine amid the coronavirus gloom, India received an excess of 18% rainfall than average this season, raising hopes of a bumper crop and no shortage of drinking water during Summer.
Monsoons deliver about 70% of India's annual rainfall and are the lifeblood of the economy, spurring farm output and boosting rural spending on various items.
According to Indian Meteorology Department (IMD) data, the South-west monsoon brought excess rain to all states barring Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Tripura and Mizoram. In Karnataka, except four hill districts, the rest of the state also witnessed excess rainfall.
Jammu & Kashmir (including Ladakh), Gujarat, Telangana, Bihar, Assam, Meghalaya and Tamil Nadu have received excess rainfall between 1% and 60% compared to last year. Punjab, Haryana, Uttarakhand, UP, Jharkhand, WB, Orissa, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, MP, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Karnataka have received a regular rainfall with 19% more or less. While, Andhra Pradesh created a record by receiving over 60% excess rainfall this season.
About 88% of sowing has already been completed and the easy availability of cheap labour in rural India is likely to help in increasing cultivation across the country, this season.
According agriculture experts, on-time rain, hike in Minimum Support Price (MSP) and the return of millions of people to their villages due to lockdown are the main reasons behind revival of farming across the country.
Several lakhs of people who have returned to their villages due to lockdown in the cities have taken up agriculture in a big way bringing down the labour wages in rural India.
The rice production is likely to be up by 20 lakh hectare, which will make India one of the largest exporters of the crop in coming days.
Demand for chemical fertilizers has also heightened across the country. According to available data, 111.61 tonnes of fertilizers have been sold as against the sale of 82.81 lakh tonnes during 2019-20 season.
Besides high sowing of paddy, good Monsoon also boosted sowing of pulses, that increased substantially to 36.82 lakh hectare from 9.46 lakh hectare last year, while that of millets to 70.69 lakh hectare from 35.20 lakh hectare in the said period.
Similarly, area sown to oilseeds also increased from 33.63 lakh in the year-ago period to 109.20 lakh hectare till last week.
Among cash crops, the area under cotton also increased from 45.85 lakh hectare to 91.67 lakh hectare, while that of sugarcane area rose to 50.62 lakh hectare as against 49.86 lakh hectare last year.
For soyabean, too, there was an increase in the area from 16.43 lakh hectare to 81.81 lakh hectare this season.
Overall sowing has so far been done across 432.97 lakh hectare of agricultural land as against 202 lakh hectare, last year, thus creating a record of sorts.
If farmers are able to save their crops from diseases and Monsoon continues in the same manner for the next two months, India is likely to witness a record breaking bumper harvest by the end of 2020 and in the early parts 2021.