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India monsoon rains expected to be above average in a boost for agriculture

India monsoon rains expected to be above average in a boost for agriculture

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India monsoon rains expected to be above average in a boost for agriculture

India is likely to receive above-average monsoon rains this year, the weather office said on Monday, retaining its April forecast and keeping alive the possibility of higher farm output and economic growth in Asia’s third-biggest economy, Reuters says.

This year’s monsoon rains are expected to be 106 per cent of the long-term average, Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, director-general of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) told a virtual news conference.

The IMD defines average or normal rainfall as between 96pc and 104pc of a 50-year average of 87 cm (35 inches) for the four-month season beginning June, Reuters added.

PAKISTAN MONSOON

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Meanwhile, this report is consistent with the forecast made by the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD), which had earlier shared a similar forecast.

“As per seasonal outlook normal to above-normal rainfall is expected in most parts of the country, with maximum departure over central to northern Punjab and southern Sindh.”

Read more: Pakistan heatwave pushes temperatures to 52 C, westerly to hit upper areas

“Northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit Baltistan may get nearly normal rainfall whereas most parts of Balochistan may get slightly above normal rainfall during the season JJA 2024. Moreover, the second half of the season is expected to be wetter than the first half,” it had added.

At the same time, the PMD says the daytime maximum temperature is expected to be nearly normal, however, northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan may experience warmer than normal maximum temperature during the season.

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“Nighttime temperatures are likely to exceed normal levels across most regions of the country, with marked deviation anticipated over northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan and south-western Balochistan.”

CRITICAL FOR ECONOMY

Reuters notes that the monsoon, critical for India’s nearly $3.5 trillion economy, delivers almost 70pc of the rain needed to water crops and replenish reservoirs and aquifers.

Read more: Rising temperatures, erratic rains, less snow. Agriculture must adapt to the changing elements

Nearly half of India’s farmland, without any irrigation, depends on the June-September rains to grow a number of crops such as rice, corn, cotton, soybeans and sugarcane.

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Plentiful rains could lift Indian farm output and wider economic growth, helping to bring down food price inflation [food prices], which has remained above the central bank’s comfort level in recent months and prompted it to resist cutting Indian interest rates.

Mohapatra said the La Nina weather phenomenon, which increases rainfall in India, would set in during July and September, boosting rainfall across the country.

India’s rice and rubber growing states in the south, and soybean, pulse, cotton and sugarcane growing central states, are likely to receive above-average monsoon rains during the season, Mohapatra said.

Key rice-growing states in the northeast could receive below-average rains, he said.

Read more: Agriculture is India biggest employer, but farmers are wrestling with shift to eco-friendly practices

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Below-average rains in 2023 depleted reservoir levels and hit food production. The government responded by imposing curbs on exports of sugar, rice, onions, and wheat.

Resuming exports depends on how quickly production recovers in 2024, which is not possible without good monsoon rainfall.
India is the world’s second-biggest producer of wheat, rice, and sugar, and the biggest importer of palm oil, soyoil, and sunflower oil.

The monsoon is forecast to hit the Kerala coast in the southwest on May 31.

India is likely to receive average rains in June, although maximum temperatures in the month are likely to remain above normal, Mohapatra said.

The north-western parts of the country could see heatwave conditions for four to six days in June, compared with the normal three heatwave days, he said. 

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Various schemes launched to boost agri, livestock sectors: minister

Various schemes launched to boost agri, livestock sectors: minister

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Various schemes launched to boost agri, livestock sectors: minister

 Punjab Minister for Agriculture and Livestock Syed Ashiq Hussain Kirmani said the livestock sector is a top priority of the government, and practical steps are being taken for its development.

He expressed these views during his visit to the sub-campus of the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences and the Buffalo Research Institute in Pattoki on Saturday.

The provincial minister inspected various departments of the institute, including the calves rearing centre, dairy section, and research laboratories.

The minister on this occasion said that institutions like the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences are providing such education and training to our youth that they can play their role in the livestock sector in their practical life.

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He said under the leadership of Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz, the government’s focus is on small farmers with land holdings ranging from one to twelve and a half acres, for whom various schemes are being launched in the agriculture and livestock sectors.

He said according to the vision of the CM, the Livestock Department is paying full attention to increasing milk and meat production and implementing body fattening programmes for livestock.

The minister said that for the first time in Punjab, a scheme called the Chief Minister Punjab Livestock Card has been introduced for small farmers, benefiting 80,000 farmers over two years.

Four lakh animals will be prepared for export through feed and fattening. Kirmani said that the Nili-Ravi breed is the pride of Punjab. The Livestock Department is striving to improve the Nili-Ravi breed of buffaloes in Punjab.

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Govt buys per unit electricity for Rs750 from specific IPP: Ejaz

Govt buys per unit electricity for Rs750 from specific IPP: Ejaz

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Govt buys per unit electricity for Rs750 from specific IPP: Ejaz

Former Caretaker Federal Minister for Commerce Gohar Ejaz has said the government has been purchasing electricity from a specific power plant at the rate of Rs750 per unit under IPPs contract deal.

“We have been paying Rs60 per unit due to these corrupt contracts. Out of total IPPs, 52 per cent belongs to the government while 28 per cent is being run by the private people of Pakistan,” Gohar disclosed.

“I have raised my voice against 40 families  and shared the data to save the country from them. It is surprising the government is paying Rs150 billion to a specific power plant which is generating merely less than 15 per cent of its capacity,” he said.

“Most IPPs are running at less than 20 per cent of their capacity while payments of Rs1.95 trillion have been made to these IPPs which have been confirmed.

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The former commerce minister reveled the government had been paying Rs370 billion to three IPPs which were generating less than 15 per cent of their capacity.

He says the solution to the problem is to pay to the IPPs ‘no capacity charges.

Read only: Gohar Ejaz urges Leghari to make IPP payment record public

“The IPPs must be paid for what they generate,” he highlighted.

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Nigeria’s Dangote refinery in talks with Libya to secure oil

Nigeria’s Dangote refinery in talks with Libya to secure oil

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Nigeria's Dangote refinery in talks with Libya to secure oil

Nigeria’s Dangote refinery is in talks with Libya to secure crude for the 650,000 barrels per day (bpd) plant and will also seek Angolan oil, a senior executive said, as it seeks to overcome problems with domestic supplies.

The $20 billion refinery, built by Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote on the outskirts of Lagos is Africa’s largest, and is designed to end Nigeria’s dependence on imported fuels because of insufficient refining capacity.

Since Dangote began operations in January, it has been unable to get adequate crude supplies in Nigeria, which, although Africa’s biggest oil producer, is struggling with theft, pipeline vandalism and low investment.

Dangote has resorted to importing crude from as far as Brazil and the United States.

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“We are talking to Libya about importing crude,” Dangote refinery senior executive Devakumar Edwin told Reuters late on Saturday. “We will talk to Angola as well and some other countries in Africa.”

He declined to give detail about the talks, but said international traders and oil companies were among the biggest buyers of Dangote’s gasoil, much of which was being exported.

“The biggest offtakers are the two big traders Trafigura and Vitol and BP and, to some extent, even TotalEnergies. But all of them are saying they are taking it to offshore,” Edwin said.

Traders and shipping data have shown that Dangote is increasing gasoil exports to West Africa, taking market share from European refiners.

Edwin said Dangote’s oil trading arm was operational, with staff in London and Lagos, to help manage supplies and sell products. Reuters first reported the planned trading arm in March.

Nigeria’s upstream regulator has clashed with Dangote, saying the sulphur content in its gasoil was above the required limits of 200 parts per million (ppm).

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Aliko Dangote has denied that, saying the sulphur level was higher when production started, but had fallen to 88 ppm and would sink to 10 ppm in early August as output rises.

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