Erratic Rainfalls Impact on Indian Farmers

In India, farming contributes greatly to the overall economy and about 50 percent of the people residing in the sub-continent are employed in the agricultural sector. This, by itself, speaks volumes of how important agriculture is to the country’s economy.

Since times immemorial, India has been an agricultural economy. In the distant past, the farmers were in a position to count upon the dependability of rainfall, while planning about the cultivation of crops. The rainy season then used to both arrive on time and also progress as anticipated, barring rare exceptions.

But for the past two decades or so it has been observed that the rainfall of India has become quite erratic, owing to the worldwide scenario of climate change. The agricultural workers are no longer enabled to predict the advent of monsoons as well as climatic conditions of the year.

Prolonged duration of dry weather succeeded by periods of sudden unexpected heavy rains has unfortunately become the order of the day. This is exercising a seriously negative impact on the economy. Let’s now succinctly focus on some of the major related points.

The agricultural sector has been compelled to allot a lot of funds towards pesticides, as fluctuating climate worsened the menace of pests.

  • In the year 2019, the primary crops of India like rice, soybean, pulses,  vegetables, among others got gravely affected due to erratic rains.
    The agricultural sector has been compelled to allot a lot of funds towards pesticides, as fluctuating climate worsened the menace of pests.
  • As a result of the aforementioned point, there has been a decline in the volume of exports and a simultaneous increase in imports of few commodities. For example, there is a marked decrease in exports of cotton and it is projected that import of fiber is likely to escalate by well over 30 percent.
  • On account of heavy unseasonal rains in states such as Maharashtra, there is a drastic rise in prices of onions. As a matter of fact, the corresponding situation is so alarmingly high during some months of the year, one can’t help but say that onion becomes a luxury commodity at those prices.
  • Along with unpredictable rainfall, EVW (extreme weather events) is another thing that has directly resulted from climate change. Over the past few years, there’s a disturbing increase in both severity and frequency of these weather events and which are causing untold damage to property. The fact that this impedes economic progress is anyone’s guess.
  • Notwithstanding the above adverse effect, we have a positive angle, too. The heavy rains, apart from filling-up reservoirs, have also boosted the levels of groundwater. This is a welcome development, from the perspective of the economic growth of rural zones.
  • Likewise, the erratic and heavy rains have made the ground favorable for cultivating crops like rapeseed, wheat, and chickpeas, etc, which are sown in colder months of the year. It’s being estimated that the quantity of wheat to be grown in the present year would be high enough to label it as unprecedented.

The problem of erratic rainfall is not without solutions, which can be implemented with governmental initiatives. These are a couple of ways in which the issue can be tackled:  

  • First and foremost, it is vital that the weather forecast should be made precise; to make sure that the farmer would be empowered to face extreme weather events. In this respect, the meteorological department of the country is entailed to team-up with various institutions of the realm, for bringing out appropriate solutions.
  • Appropriate encouragement must be given to agricultural zones of regions characterized by a dry climate, for cultivating crops with a smaller time span. Crops like sorghums, millets and pulses not just fall into this category, but they also are able to withstand droughts.

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