News / Asia

India Monsoon Revival Eases Fears of Drought

Men run for cover during a heavy rain shower in the northern Indian hill town of Shimla, July 4, 2014.
Men run for cover during a heavy rain shower in the northern Indian hill town of Shimla, July 4, 2014.
Anjana Pasricha

In India, fears of a drought are easing as monsoon rains revive. Farmers are now urging the government to ensure that more farmland is brought under irrigation to reduce dependence on the monsoon.

Until a week ago, a 43 percent shortfall in rains had not only left India’s vast plains coping with a searing summer, but had raised worries that food output might be seriously impacted.

But in the past week, as monsoon rains lashed many parts of the country, farmers have been busy planting seeds to make up for lost time.

Charanjit Singh farms more than 40 hectares of land in the northern Punjab state, known as India’s breadbasket. Singh said his sugar cane crop is likely to suffer due to scant rains in June, but he hopes his paddy crop will not be impacted.

The shortfall of rain in June had prompted the government to gear up to distribute drought resistant seeds and fodder for animals in the worst affected regions.

India is one of the world’s largest producers of rice, corn, sugar, oilseeds and cotton. The agricultural output is not only critical to feed its 1.2 billion people - many African and Asian countries also import food items, such as rice, from India.

However, as more than half of India’s farmland is only rain fed, food production is dependent on monsoon rains, which come between June and September.

The head of the Consortium of Indian Farmers, Chengel Reddy, said that although rains have revived, the monsoon's late arrival could cut output of crops such as beans, sugar cane and oil seeds. He said this will adversely impact millions of small farmers.

“As far as cereals are concerned, India will not have a very serious problem. But in regard to the other produce, and the farmers’ employment and income, that will have serious impact on the national economy. If water comes late, the production will go down, then income will go down, therefore there will be sort of economic crisis in individual families,” said Reddy.

Farmers’ groups complain that the new Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government has not allocated enough resources in its recent annual budget to complete scores of irrigation projects, many of which have been stalled for years due to lack of funds.

“The BJP manifesto promised implementation and completion of irrigation projects, but the budget allocation is only Rs. 100 crores ($17 million). What do we do with 100 crores? In the last 50 days, they have been talking of roads, but nobody is thinking of irrigation, I don’t know why,” said Reddy.

Farmers groups say the government needs to do more to boost the agriculture sector, because although it only accounts for 14 percent of the gross domestic product it sustains two-thirds of the population.

The government has said that boosting the economy is its top priority, but its immediate focus has been on improving infrastructure and reviving investment.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs