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The elnino effect and agriculture in India.

"El.Nino" is a Spanish word, meaning – "Child Christ". El.Nino is a warm current that flows off the coast of Peru (South America) generally in December( around 25th December) in every three to four years and its effects lasts for 18 months.

The El.Nino warm current replaces the cold Humboldt or the Peruvian current flowing on the western margins of South America- Peru coast. It is generally a reversal in the pressure conditions in the Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean. Whenever, this warm El.Nino Current appears in the Pacific Ocean, the amount of rainfall in this area is usually high, a flood like conditions. While the eastern margins of Australia and Indonesia record drought like conditions. In brief, the occurrence of such an effect in the Pacific Ocean results into a weak monsoon causing drought and failure of crops in the countries where monsoon is experienced and flood condition the western side of South America and North America continent.

The El.Nino effect is on Indian agriculture and affect on food grains. The farmers are still depended on the monsoon winds which are unpredictable. Increase in rainfall means a bumper crop production and erratic monsoon means a bad production of crops resulting into the loss of country's economy. So, in India still farmers depends upon the monsoon neglecting the technology and advancement in the field of agriculture. Monsoon winds hit in the western coast of India in June in the first week of the month causing heavy rainfall in this region. If there are variations in the monsoon, that will affect the Indian Agriculture and people and society. It will affect the rural and urban lives.

According to the Indian Meteorological Department, this year the effect of the El.Nino is experienced on the Indian Monsoon. According to the reports there will be deficit in rainfall conditions of 5 percent which will increase a loss of 1.75 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) i.e., a loss of 1,80,000 crore. It will hit the economy of India. The deficit in rainfall, as stated above, will not only affect the agricultural production, but also affect the society. So, deficit in rainfall are likely to occur this year due to this warm El.Nino current in Pacific Ocean.

In India, 60 percent of the net-sown area is rain-fed. If there is a deficit in at least 1 percent of rainfall, the country's Gross Domestic Product will fall – 0.35 percent. So, good agriculture growth is a necessary factor to increase and meet the demands for industrial products and services. The manufacturing industries in India are agro-based, at least 30 percent of manufacturing sector is agro-based and a bumper crop ensures a good supply of agro-material i.e., the raw material for the manufacturing industries are at relatively low prices. The El.Nino effect is not recorded first time in India. In 1997 and 2009, the effect of El.Nino was recorded and India experienced a drought like conditions in the various parts of the country.

But there is a question, why such an effect is observed in Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean. Whenever, the surface pressure is high over the Pacific Ocean and low pressure over Indian Ocean, the pressure is inversely relate to rainfall, which indicates a low pressure over the Indian subcontinent in the winter months and chances of a good monsoon is likely to occur. But when this condition, or the pressure condition is reversed or changed i.e., High pressure over the Indian Ocean and Low pressure over the Pacific Ocean, then the winds are erratic and will not be good- causing the drought conditions in the Indian subcontinent.

Few recommendations are suggested in order to reduce the effect of El.Nino on the Indian agriculture. High quality seeds of alternative crop should be distributed among the farmers in drought affected areas. The government must bring down the cereal inflation and buffer stock should be another option.

-Reema Singh