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Monsoon Deficit problem for oilseed farmers


The easing of the monsoon post June 2021 has resulted in a 32% rainfall deficit during that period, and is likely to push farmers into changing their kharif crop patterns.


GS-III: Agriculture (Cropping patterns), GS-I: Geography (Important geophysical phenomena)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is cropping pattern?
  2. Rabi Crops
  3. Kharif Crops
  4. Zaid Crops
  5. About the recent study on Monsoon and farming Oil seeds

What is cropping pattern?

  • Cropping pattern is basically the nature and variety of crops grown both spatially and temporally in an area or a geographical region. In spatial terms, it is what different type of crops grown in adjacent lands of a region. In temporal terms, it is the nature of crops that are taken up in a specific land over different agrarian seasons of a year (like kharif-rainy, rabi-winter, zaid-summer). It depends upon following factors:
    • Infrastructure facilities: Irrigation, transport, storage, trade and marketing, post-harvest handling and processing etc.
    • Socio-economic factors: Financial resource base, land ownership, size and type of land holding, household needs of food, fodder, fuel, fibre and finance, and labour availability etc.
    • Technological factors: Enhanced varieties, cultural requirements, mechanization, plant protection, access to information, etc.

Rabi Crops

  • Rabi crops are sown in winter from October to December and harvested in summer from April to June.
  • Some of the important rabi crops are wheat, barley, peas, gram and mustard.
  • Though, these crops are grown in large parts of India, states from the north and north-western parts such as Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh are important for the production of wheat and other rabi crops.
  • Availability of precipitation during winter months due to the western Temperate Cyclones help in the success of these crops.
  • However, the success of the green revolution in Punjab, Haryana, western Uttar Pradesh and parts of Rajasthan has also been an important factor in the growth of the abovementioned rabi crops.

Kharif Crops

  • Kharif crops are grown with the onset of monsoon in different parts of the country and these are harvested in September-October.
  • Important crops grown during this season are paddy, maize, jowar, bajra, tur (arhar), moong, urad, cotton, jute, groundnut and soyabean.
  • Some of the most important rice-growing regions are Assam, West Bengal, coastal regions of Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Maharashtra, particularly the (Konkan coast) along with Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. 
  • Recently, paddy has also become an important crop of Punjab and Haryana. In states like Assam, West Bengal and Odisha, three crops of paddy are grown in a year. These are Aus, Aman and Boro.

Zaid Crops

  • In between the rabi and the kharif seasons, there is a short season during the summer months known as the Zaid season. 
  • Some of the crops produced during ‘zaid’ are watermelon, muskmelon, cucumber vegetables and fodder crops. Sugarcane takes almost a year to grow.

About the recent study on Monsoon and farming Oil seeds

  • Especially in northwest and central India, which are seeing rainfall deficits as high as 55%, farmers may be forced to move from oilseeds such as soybean and groundnut to crops which have lower water requirements, such as cotton and maize.
  • Overall, sowing was slower than last year, with the total sown acreage lagging behind 12%.
  • Until June 2021, there had been 28% surplus rainfall. After that point though, the monsoon played truant, resulting in a 32% deficit compared with the long period average from the end of June to Mid-July.
  • Rice is the major kharif season crop, especially in the east and north-east of India, which saw 23% deficit during the period of rainfall deficit from the end of June.

-Source: The Hindu

December 2023