The flow of bad news for farmers may not stop with the recent spell of unseasonal rains and hailstorms. Another spell of equal intensity is forecast to hit some northern, central and western states middle of next week, according to Skymet Weather Services.
Jatin Singh, CEO of Skymet, said the frequency of such disturbances has been high every year since 1999. "Barring 2010, we have found such unseasonal spells in most years. It seems that winter is mixing up with pre-monsoon rainfall," he said.
Rains, high velocity winds and hailstorms over the past week, especially the weekend, have hit the crop by causing water logging and physical damage to rabi, or the winter crop.
The states that bore the brunt are Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and the hilly states of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.
These states are likely to get more rains next week. The events have triggered a rise in prices of vegetables and fruits. Production of wheat, pulses, vegetables and fruits is likely to be impacted.
The main rabi crops are wheat, pulses, oilseeds and rice. Rabi accounts for 51 per cent of the country's grain output. Harvested in April-May period, the rabi crop caters to consumption demand till the kharif crop gets harvested in October.
Farm productivity in the kharif season of 2014 had also taken a hit due to a deficiency of 12 per cent in rainfall. Kharif grain output is estimated to have declined seven per cent last year.
A normal-to-bumper rabi crop would have made up for the drop in the kharif crop. However, that looks a distant possibility now.