Poor monsoon adversely hits farmers
Poor monsoon adversely hits farmers

All eyes remain focused on first monsoon forecast by India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Wednesday, as many agencies including the IMD see a high probability of the occurrence of El Nino, a condition that is linked to poor monsoons in the country.

The El Nino effects could lead to below normal rains, bringing down the agricultural output and raising food inflation. The condition is often a cause of sub-par rainfall during the monsoon season (June-September). Data shows 10 out of 13 droughts that occurred since 1950 have had an El Nino connection.

The Australian Commonwealth Bureau of Meteorology's Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) fell to -11.2 in March from 0.6 in February, indicating a possibility of El Nino. A sustained negative reading in SOI signals El Nino episodes.

"The chances of El Nino occurring in 2015 have increased. Ocean temperatures in the tropical Pacific continue to be warmer than average, trade winds remain weaker than average, and all models surveyed suggest further ocean warming will occur," said the bureau.

However, a private agency forecast last week showed that the country to witness normal rains this year shrugging off the adverse impact of El Nino.

"The monsoon onset is expected to be early, around May 27, and fairly strong. Pre-monsoon rain will also be strong across the country. Unseasonal rain will continue well into May," said Skymet, a private weather forecaster, in a statement.

The agency said it expects 102% rains during the monsoon season (June to September), which is within the normal range of 96%-104%.

The Indian farmers are already facing huge losses as unseasonal rains damage their crops besides below-normal monsoon last year. A consecutive poor monsoon will intensify their worries.