As had been anticipated, the kharif yield this year is now estimated to slump far below last year’s mark. The first official assessment made by the agriculture ministry after one of the weakest monsoons in recent times puts the kharif foodgrain production at 90.85 million tonnes which is 20 million tonnes below last year’s production of 111.51 million tonnes. Of this, rice, the principal kharif crop, is likely to fall by over 13 million tonnes. Compared to last year, the harvest of other kharif crops like oilseeds, sugarcane, cotton and jute is also estimated to go down considerably.
The impact of a generally weak monsoon was felt most during the month of July when most regions in the country didn’t receive any rain. This proved detrimental to the majority of kharif crops, especially paddy, and sowing operations were either delayed or simply did not take off in states like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. Similarly, southern states like Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu were also adversely affected.