. The changing monsoon patterns have become a major concern for farmers, scientists and policy-makers alike. For instance, researchers at the India Meteorological Department’s (IMD) Pune wing, which handles long-range forecasts, have concluded that the June-September monsoon is increasingly becoming more sluggish in the initial phase, picking up towards the end. Although such late revival patterns tend to improve the rainfall scenario, they can still roil farms because of crop cycles. The IMD’s study was published recently in the journal Mausam.
Some previous studies, too, have shown that peak monsoon months were shifting to August and September, with more extreme rainfall events.
For a good harvest, the monsoon must not just be timely but also evenly distributed across various food-bowl states. Given current farming practices, good rain in June and July is vital, as farmers sow a variety of kharif crops such as rice, maize, corn, pulses, soya and cotton. Varieties developed during the green revolution are primed for these two months.
Shorter duration crops and conservation farming are now two “well-regimented” government-backed climate adaptation strategies. The latter is based on three principles: minimum tillage of land, always-covered-with-crops land and mixed cropping. But these remain very limited in reach. However, only 3% farmers are either aware of or willing to change tried and tested varieties, according to a survey cited in a recent statement made in Parliament. This reflects a lack of trust, since farmers have to spend a lot on seeds.