India may avoid drought for fourth straight year: expert

NEW DELHI Thu Mar 7, 2013 4:38pm IST

1 of 2. A couple stands under an umbrella on a platform in a park as it rains in New Delhi August 24, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Adnan Abidi

Related Topics

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India may avoid a drought for a fourth straight year as the El Nino weather system looks unlikely to impact monsoon rains, a leading forecaster said on Thursday, promising yet another bumper grains output in the Asia's third-biggest economy.

El Nino was a factor in India's last severe drought in 2009 when the country had to import sugar, pushing global prices to 30-year highs.

It is associated with warming of the sea's surface in the Pacific Ocean and can cause widespread drought in the Indian sub-continent that results in lower grains output for one of the world's biggest food consumers and producers.

"El Nino is now at a neutral phase and a review about its emergence with associated impact over the Indian sub-continent will be done during the second half of April," D.S. Pai, the lead forecaster of the Indian weather office, told Reuters.

The World Meteorological Organisation will review the chance of El Nino's emergence for this year's monsoon at a regional summit in Kathmandu, where Pai will present the Indian weather office's maiden perspective about the annual summer rains.

"If this year's monsoon is fine, then we can produce another record year of food grain production," Farm Minister Sharad Pawar had said on Wednesday at a conference.

Last year, the monsoon rains avoided a widespread drought even though the first half of the June-September rainy season recorded deficient rainfall.

Rains below 90 percent of a 50-year average are termed deficient by the weather office.

(Editing by Jo Winterbottom)

FILED UNDER:

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Market Eye

Market Eye

Sensex, Nifty gain for third day; defensives in focus   Full Article 

Oil Prices

Oil Prices

Brent climbs above $62 as Asian markets open strong  Full Article 

Tracking Gold

Tracking Gold

Gold inches up but holds below $1,200 on robust equities, dollar  Full Article 

Cyber Attacks

Cyber Attacks

China condemns cyberattacks, but does not mention North Korea  Full Article 

Connecting Markets

Connecting Markets

China stock connect scheme scorecard throws up surprises  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage