According to local sources it has been reported that heavy rains in Eastern states of India namely West Bengal, Odisha and Manipur has damaged several hectares of paddy fields which may lead to yield lower production of rice and an increase in its prices. It has been estimated that that over 200,000 hectares of paddy and vegetable fields have been damaged in West Bengal and a flood-like situation while in northern Odisha it is likely to affect more paddy fields. In addition, similar situation has been reported in Manipur too.
However, the Director of the Central Rice Research Institute (CRRI) noted that the crop is not in a very bad position and damage could be reduced if fresh sowing can be undertaken in August using a short-duration paddy seeds. Further, it was also stated that farmers can opt for a next round of sowing after water recedes in the fields. The CRRI Director also stressed that price hikes may be ruled out for now since the government procurement is inadequate in some states and due to this, farmers are unable to sell their output.
In view of the current situation, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has a forecast that there may be about 16% deficits in the rainfall during the second half (August-September) of the monsoon season (June-September). It also forecasts that in August it may receive 10% deficit rainfall while higher deficit in September. It has also been informed by IMD official that India’s north-west region may witness highest deficit of around 15% in rainfall in the remaining season while central and eastern India are expected to receive heavy rains.
In one of the statements, the CRRI told that it is too early to decide whether the rainfall deficit will have any impact on rice productivity. However, it has been noted that the government could assist farmers in areas that are more likely to be affected by a dry spell. According to the data from the Agriculture Ministry it reported that total area planting to India’s 2015-16 main Kharif rice crop (June – December) stood at around 22.8 million hectares as of July 31, 2015, up about 6% from around 21.5 million hectares planted during the same time just last year.