Where Is The Monsoon? What About The Paddy?

Paddy transplantation in many parts of the country is likely to be affected as the delayed monsoon is yet to make a convincing appearance.

Monsoon rains this year missed the normal onset date, and has only been making sluggish progress nearly a week after its entry on June 12.

Although meteorologists had predicted an early monsoon this year, it has been delayed due to the slow movement of moisture-laden winds bringing rain from the Bay of Bengal in India.

“After its onset in Eastern Nepal last week, the progress of the monsoon has been slow. Except for brief thundershowers in some places in East Nepal, most of the country has remained dry,” shares Shanta Kandel, a meteorologist at the Meteorological Forecasting Division (MFD).

Paddy plantation takes place between mid-June to July in most places, but extends until mid-August in Tarai districts depending on the rains. The three-month long monsoon between June-September accounts for nearly 80 percent of the total annual rainfall and irrigates parched farms across the country. Only 40 percent of the total 2.64 million hectares of arable land in the country have proper irrigation facilities.

Normally, the rain-bearing southwest monsoon is marked by the presence and movement of moisture all the way from the Bay of Bengal to East Nepal. The monsoon then takes a week to cover the entire country.

“Cloudy skies have been observed in some places, but no favourable rainfall is likely to occur in the next couple of days. If rainfall is delayed by more than one or two weeks, it will affect paddy yield,” adds Kandel.

The agricultural sector in Nepal accounts for nearly 33 percent (over Rs. 2 Trillion) of the national economy and a good monsoon does contribute to increased yield.  Favourable monsoon in 2016, after two consecutive years of droughts, contributed to increased paddy output: 5.23 million tonnes this fiscal year. The previous fiscal year’s output was at 4.29 million tonnes.