Times News Network: Amid grim prediction that El Nino conditions may possibly impact Monsoon this year, triggering drought in parts of India, the government plans to ask agricultural institutions, farm scientists, water resource managers and policy makers to come out with a contingency plan to tackle below-normal rain situation during June-August.
Government’s precautionary approach for the next season will be articulated by the Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar during a two-day national conference on ‘Kharif Campaign 2014’, beginning here on February 26.
Though India is set to report record food-grain production with an estimate of 263 million tonnes during 2013-14 and there is adequate buffer stock to continue government’s food security scheme, the recent prediction on El Nino has put the policy makers on the edge.
El Nino, which refers to the warming of the central and east Pacific and cooling of the West, occurs every four to 12 years. It had last hit India’s Monsoon in 2009, leading to the worst drought in the country in nearly four decades.
The Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology, the US Climate Prediction Center and other global weather institutions have already predicted possibility of less rain in India during Monsoon this year due to El Nino effect.
Although the intensity of the El Nino condition is still being debated among scientists, the policy makers can certainly not take a chance.
“El Nino conditions may or may not hit India. But, government institutions and policy makers cannot afford to ignore the prediction,” said Pramod K Aggarwal, senior scientist, engaged with research programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS).
He said though India had enough food-grain stock to meet any drought situation, there was a need to take precautionary measures to protect the vulnerable farmers. Extending effective insurance cover, timely availability of weather information and proper distribution of water, seeds and other ingredients are some of the measures which will help the country in adverse situation, he said.
The Conference, which is to chalk out strategies for the coming season in the backdrop of the recent prediction, will take stock of the water reservoir position and preparedness for timely distribution of seeds and fertilizers and other inputs during the coming Kharif season.
Overall strategy for enhancing crop production, adoption of improved technologies for use of water and fertilizers and issues relating to marketing of pulses, oilseeds and coarse cereals will also be discussed during the two-day meet.
“States will be advised to promote scientific use of water, nutrients and pesticides. The progress of monsoon will be closely monitored and immediate action as per the contingency plan will be made operational in advance,” said an official.
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