India must reform its agriculture policies to minimise the monsoon gamble
- Revamping crop insurance and farm trade, and building resilience with short-duration substitutes for the types of grain India farmers usually produce will go a long way in minimising the effects of an unreliable monsoon and increasingly erratic weather patterns
The heat-wave warning issued for Orissa yesterday provides context to assessing the India Meteorological Department’s (IMD) forecast of a normal southwest monsoon this year. The IMD’s forecast means that total rainfall over the four months from June to September will be 96-104% of the long-period average of 868.6 mm. While this average has never been a good enough indicator, obscuring as it does the spatial distribution of rainfall, it has become even less useful these days thanks to climate change and the resulting erratic weather patterns. Now, the temporal sequencing of precipitation is as important as its spatial distribution.