THE SOUTHWEST MONSOON, AND NOT HOARDING, IS CHIEFLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE SPIKE IN KHARIF CROP PRICES
Onion prices in the country have soared as high as Rs 200/kg, as in the Solapur market of Maharashtra. The Central government has attempted to tackle the crisis by banning the export of onions and imposing stock limits on wholesale traders and retailers. However, these measures seem to have had little to no impact. This is testament to the fact that production shortfall, and not any so-called hoarding, is behind the current price spike.
As stated in the Kharif Report (Volume 3) released by Skymet last week, the Southwest Monsoon this year has been the best Monsoon of the last 25 years. However, the rains were deficient in two-thirds of the country till the last week of July. The latter months though more than made up for the deficit, bringing the country-wide cumulative rainfall at a surplus of 10%. The delayed arrival of Monsoon and the subsequent deficiency, followed by excess rains which continued till October negatively impacted the yield of onion. If the late arrival of Monsoon resulted in a reduction of 7% in the Kharif planted from last year, then the unseasonal excess rains caused damage to the standing crop. The prices of Kharif crops like arhar, moong, urad, soybean, and maize have also surged due to these exact same reasons.
Onion has three production seasons: Kharif (transplanting in July-August and harvesting in October-December), late-Kharif (October-November and January-March) and Rabi (December- January and April-May). In 2018-19, India’s estimated total onion output was 234.85 lt, of which the Rabi crop contributed over 65%, with the rest from late-Kharif (20%) and Kharif (15%). The excess rains might not have helped the Kharif production, but it has brought about favourable soil moisture conditions which will no doubt benefit the Rabi crop. The groundwater table and aquifers have been sufficiently recharged due to these rains, which will reap long-term benefits.
WEATHER FORECAST FOR THE COMING WEEK
The past week has been quiet, with temperatures in the Northern Hills and Plains dipping into single digits. The Northeast Monsoon has remained mild, especially in the second half of the week. According to the rainfall data available with Skymet, all the five sub-divisions have recorded normal-excess rains till date.
Across North India, the week will start on a quieter note and will experience fairly widespread activity thereafter. The plains of North India will observe rains and thunderstorms, and the Hills will receive snowfall, especially on the 12th and the 13th. Hailstorm is also likely at a few places in North India. Cold-wave conditions are to be expected over the plains after the November 15.
East and Northeast India are likely to experience their first winter rains, especially on 13th and 14th December. The possibility of hailstorms cannot be ruled out. Amongst the Northeastern states, the rains will mostly impact the states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland.
Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh are likely to record scattered, light-moderate rains on 12th and 13th December. Maharashtra, especially the regions of Vidarbha and Marathwada, will experience some unseasonal light rains.
The Northeast Monsoon is going to have a subdued presence over South India. Limited activity is to be expected over Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. South Interior Karnataka and Kerala will experience a generally quiet week. Chennai is likely to experience some light rains. This could well turn out to be a deficit week for the Northeast Monsoon.
Image Credit: NDTV
Any information taken from here should be credited to skymetweather.com