Monsoon hits Kerala early; what could it really mean?


by 5paisa Research Team Last Updated: Jun 02, 2022, 10:49 PM IST

The southwest monsoon, which is the first advent of the monsoons in India, hit the coast of Kerala on 29th May, nearly 3 days ahead of the median schedule. Normally, the monsoons hit the Kerala coast around the 01st of June after which the winds go inland and hit the coast of Mumbai and other areas within a week.

The monsoon hitting the Kerala coast early means that the rains should move up North also much earlier than previous years. 

According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD) statement, all the conditions that enable to call it the advent of monsoons had been satisfied. In fact, IMD had already given its forecast that monsoons would hit the coast of Kerala earlier than expected due to the intense heat wave that had swept across large swathes of India. In the case of Kharif cropping, it is not just the time arrival but also the spread that matters a lot.

If the movement of the monsoons is as per the forecast of the IMD, then this will mark the fourth consecutive normal monsoon in India. Normal monsoon is defined in terms of the range of rainfall expected based on the long period average (LPA).

If the rainfall is expected to be between 96% of the LPA and 104% of the LPA, then it is defined as normal rainfall. Outside the range, it would be excess rainfall or a drought like situation.

For India, the monsoons have a special place as the Kharif output is largely dependent on the monsoons. Even today, around 50% of the total cultivable land in India still depends on monsoon rains. More importantly, good rainfall helps to replenish ground water levels and reservoirs.
 

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The latter is very important to ensure that there is enough water available to irrigate the lands during the Rabi season, which is the winter sowing season. 

Some of the most popular Kharif crops in India include paddy (rice), pulses, oilseeds and coarse cereals. Normally, the sowing commences along with the rains and are expected to move gradually towards the rest of the country over next four weeks.

Delays in rains mean that the sowing season gets impacted and hence the final output gets negatively hit. IMD normally decides on normality of rainfall based on consistency in a defined geography, intensity, cloudiness and wind speed.

IMD has predicted rainfall in 2022 at 99% of LPA, which can be defined as normal rainfall. According to IMD, the conditions are amenable to further advance of southwest monsoon into remaining parts of Kerala as well as to other states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and also to some parts of Bay of Bengal during this period. As a result, it is expected that food grain production in 2022 would increase by 1.2% over last year.

A solid Kharif output is also essential for taming food inflation, which has surged in the last few months by more than 600 basis points.

From that perspective, at least, the timely arrival of the monsoons is a big morale booster for the Indian economy. Of course, the spread and intensity are still X-factors and will manifest over the next couple of months.

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