RAINFALL IMPLICATIONS FOR FOOD PRODUCTION IN INDIA: WHEN AND WHERE
Early outlook on food production is important for policy making and can be formed on the basis of the recorded rainfall. Simplistically, a good monsoon produces a bumper harvest and scanty rainfall causes crop failure. Econometric modelling of past data shows that the reality is much more complex. Food production in a state is sensitive to rainfall in the state as well as other states depending on geography. Rainfall distribution in the growing season and pre-sowing months can matter significantly. Moreover, the rainfall effect can be favorable as well as adverse. In the sample period, sowing and growing season rainfall in the state had little favorable effect on area and yield in Punjab and its effect on Rice yield was even harmful in Punjab and West Bengal. Rainfall in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh however had beneficial effects on the respective state’s and on each’s other production. Rainfall in the Himalayas is a powerful impact on food production resulting from river dynamics and water management but the dominance of adverse effect over beneficial ones is a sign of poorly managed upstream downstream linkages. Because production is sensitive also to economic variables, the government, which can modulate subsidies and support prices, also has control over food production. Improving efficiency of water distribution with an integrated geographical perspective can also be a potent public instrument for production planning.