Agriculture across north Madhya Maharashtra region could be under serious threat with weather experts at India Meteorological Department (IMD) observing a steady decline in rainfall over this region in the recent years. This was stated in an analysis report on recent changing trends in Indian monsoon over Maharashtra. The report was presented as part of the annual monsoon 2016 workshop organised by the India Meteorological Society (Pune branch) in the city on Wednesday. The areas affected include districts in north Madhya Maharashtra — Nashik, Nandurbar, Dhule and Jalgaon and some parts of Ahmednagar.
The average annual rainfall, which is largely a well distributed one, received during the four months over north Maharashtra ranges anywhere between 700 mm and 1,200 mm. However , current rainfall figures are indicating a downward trend in this annual average rainfall.
About 3,000 hectare of area is primarily being used to cultivate fruits and vegetables. This area is also major cultivator of grapes and onions in the country. Apart from these, there is sizeable cultivation of tur, gram, jamun, bajra, rice, jowar and sugarcane.
The agriculture ministry identifies this region as Western Ghat zone, under which 25 per cent of the total area is covered by forest.
This region receives rain primarily from the south-west monsoon, that is during June and September, from the various systems formed in the Arabian Sea. However, off late, it has been found that these rain-bearing systems are phasing out ahead of reaching northern Maharashtra.
“A a result, these regions are sometimes deprived of even the normal rainfall during monsoon,” said Subhangi Bhute, an IMD official from Mumbai.
Subsequently, the systems instead benefit Konkan and southern districts like Pune, Satara, Raighad and Ratnagiri in the process. Monsoon onset and its progress is crucial until it passes through Maharashtra, stated Bhute.
According to another IMD scientist and agriculture meteorologist R Balasubramanian, June and July are crucial months as that is the period when sowing of Kharif crops has to be undertaken. “ Until mid-July, there must be good rains inorder to achieve good crop yield during Kharif Season,” he said.