The southwest monsoon is likely to hit Kerala on June 5, four days behind schedule, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Friday.
This commences the four-month-long rainfall season, from June to September. The normal onset date is June 1.
“The onset of the southwest monsoon over Kerala this year is likely to be slightly delayed. The monsoon onset over Kerala this year is likely to be on June 5 with a model error of plus or minus four days,” the IMD said.
Private forecasters Skymet Weather and the Weather Company, an IBM Venture, however, differ, with both predicting an early arrival.
While Skymet Weather expects it on May 28 with an error margin of plus or minus two days, for the Weather Company it is May 31.
According to the IMD forecast, the monsoon is likely to be normal this year. The country receives 75 per cent of its rain during the four months.
In a related development, the agriculture ministry said the country was estimated to achieve an all-time high foodgrains production of 295.67 million tonnes in the 2019-20 crop year, the fourth consecutive year of record production, aided by good rain.
According to the data, the estimated output of foodgrains this year is up 3.67 per cent over the period a year ago and has crossed its target of 291.10 million tonnes, which it had set before the beginning of the 2019-20 sowing season.
Foodgrains production includes the crops grown during both the kharif (summer) and rabi (winter) seasons. At present, harvesting rabi crops is in the final stages amid the pandemic crisis.
This is the fourth consecutive time since the 2016-17 crop year (July-June) when output has exceeded that of the previous year.
The previous record was 285.21 million tonnes, during the 2018-19 crop year.
Among all crops, the output of wheat, the main rabi crop, is estimated at an all-time high level of 107.18 million tonnes in 2019-20, up from 103.60 million tonnes the previous year. Harvesting wheat is in the final stages.
Similarly, the output of rice, the main kharif crop, is estimated to be a record 117.94 million tonnes this year, against 116.48 million tonnes last year.
At the same time, the production of coarse cereals is estimated to be a record 47.54 million tonnes as against 43.06 million tonne last year. The production of maize is estimated at a record 28.98 million tonness this year, up from 27.72 million tonnes in the 2018-19 crop year, but barley output is expected lower at 1.59 million tonnes against 1.63 million tonnes last year.
In the case of pulses, production is estimated to increase to 23.01 million tonnes this year from 22.08 million tonnes last year.
Of that, tur production is estimated at 3.75 million tonnes and chana at 10.90 million tonnes for this year.
The foodgrains basket comprises wheat, rice, coarse cereals, and pulses.