More rainfall in Sept, to help rice crop: Agri Secy

New Delhi: Rainfall next month is expected to be better as monsoon is unlikely to be influenced by El Nino weather pattern, helping rice and other kharif crop, Agriculture Secretary Ashish Bahuguna said today.

El Nino refers to abnormal warming of surface ocean waters in the Pacific that disrupts weather pattern causing drought and floods in many regions of the world.

"I don`t think the September rains will be impacted due to El Nino. Even if El Nino temperature do increase, I do not think, it will impact our monsoon. It may affect other parts of the world," Bahuguna said on the sidelines of a CII event.

So far, monsoon deficit is 13 per cent. However, the seasonal rains have revived because the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), known as Indian Nino, is now favourable, he said.

Better rains in September will help in retaining soil moisture and support sowing of rabi crops, Bhauguna said, adding that kharif crop will also benefit.

He said there may be more rainy days ahead as monsoon could withdraw late from north-west India. "Normally, monsoon starts withdrawing from north-west India around September 1. This year, it seems withdrawal will be delayed. Onset of monsoon was delayed and withdrawal will also delay. We will have more rainy days," he said.

On Kharif crops situation, Bhahuguna said the crop health looks better and the gap in sowing area has been made up due to the recent spell of rains.

Area coverage under rice, oilseeds, cotton and sugarcane is good, though it is slightly lower under coarse cereals and pulses, he said.

"I think, recent spell of rains will help area under coarse cereals to pick up, especially ragi in Karnataka, bajra and jowar in Rajasthan," Bahuguna said.

Although the kharif crop prospects are improving, there will certainly be some impact on overall production and productivity, he noted.

Total area under kharif crops is down at 32.9 million hectare as on August 24, against 34.2 million hectare in the same period last year.