Forecast of heavy rains in October raises concern about India's rice, wheat crops



By Rajendra Jadhav and Mayank Bhardwaj

MUMBAI/NEW DELHI, Sept 30 (Reuters) - India is likely to receive above-average rainfall in October, an official with the state-run weather office said on Friday, posing risks for summer-sown crops such as rice and the planting of wheat.

Monthly rainfall is expected at 115% of the long-term average, Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, director general of the India Meteorological Department, told a virtual news conference.

Heavy rains in October could damage ripening crops such as rice, pulses, cotton and soybeans, and may delay wheat planting in parts of India, the world's leading producer of an array of farm goods.

Scant rain in eastern and northern India in the first half of the June-September monsoon season had already hit rice planting, forcing the government to cut output estimates and restrict exports to ensure adequate supplies for the country's 1.4 billion people.

The curbs came on the heels of a ban on overseas sales of wheat after a sudden rise in temperatures in March and April shrivelled the crop.

Although monsoon rains were patchy in Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and parts of West Bengal - some of India's major rice-producing states - overall summer rains were 6% higher than average during the four-month season as central and southern regions received torrential downpours.

India is increasingly seeing uneven monsoon rains, raising concerns about food output. Rains are also getting more intense during the tail end of the season, and lingering.

This year, the monsoon could last longer than normal, especially in northern India, Mohapatra said.

Although a longer monsoon tends to help winter crops by leaving the soil moist and replenishing reservoirs, unusually heavy downpours hamper agricultural activities.

"Crops are getting ready for harvesting and they need dry weather," said a New Delhi-based dealer with a global trading firm.

"Excessive rainfall could damage crops, especially rice in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal," said the trader who did not wish to be identified in line with his company's policy.

Within weeks of harvesting the rice crop, millions of Indian farmers start planting wheat in October. Growers harvest the wheat crop in March and April.

Monsoon rains are critical for India's farm-dependent economy, as almost half of the country's farmland goes without irrigation. Farming accounts for nearly 15% of India's almost $3 trillion economy and sustains half of its population.
Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav and Mayank Bhardwaj; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Mark Potter

Disclaimer: The XM Group entities provide execution-only service and access to our Online Trading Facility, permitting a person to view and/or use the content available on or via the website, is not intended to change or expand on this, nor does it change or expand on this. Such access and use are always subject to: (i) Terms and Conditions; (ii) Risk Warnings; and (iii) Full Disclaimer. Such content is therefore provided as no more than general information. Particularly, please be aware that the contents of our Online Trading Facility are neither a solicitation, nor an offer to enter any transactions on the financial markets. Trading on any financial market involves a significant level of risk to your capital.

All material published on our Online Trading Facility is intended for educational/informational purposes only, and does not contain – nor should it be considered as containing – financial, investment tax or trading advice and recommendations; or a record of our trading prices; or an offer of, or solicitation for, a transaction in any financial instruments; or unsolicited financial promotions to you.

Any third-party content, as well as content prepared by XM, such as: opinions, news, research, analyses, prices and other information or links to third-party sites contained on this website are provided on an “as-is” basis, as general market commentary, and do not constitute investment advice. To the extent that any content is construed as investment research, you must note and accept that the content was not intended to and has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such, it would be considered as marketing communication under the relevant laws and regulations. Please ensure that you have read and understood our Notification on Non-Independent Investment. Research and Risk Warning concerning the foregoing information, which can be accessed here.

We are using cookies to give you the best experience on our website. Read more or change your cookie settings.

Risk Warning: Your capital is at risk. Leveraged products may not be suitable for everyone. Please consider our Risk Disclosure.