Predicting Indian monsoons can help Main Street USA

Scientists in the USA, Britain and India are working to “crack the code” of the summer monsoons in India.

The monsoons are necessary for crops in India. All told, 75% of the annual rainfall comes in the June-September period. These rains are needed to ensure good crops, especially the all-important rice crop.

According to an Al-Jazeera story, the reason for better understanding the monsoons is simple:

This would help India conserve depleting water resources and agricultural output would get a boost as farmers would be able to plan their crops better. Armed with more precise forecasts, state governments would be better prepared, in theory, for disasters such as the recent floods in Assam

Besides the international cooperation effort on the scientific side, there is also a direct connection to better agricultural planning in India and U.S. consumers.

When the monsoons are on time, India buys several million tons of fertilizer from the global suppliers. When the monsoons are not so great, those tons sit in warehouses as excess material.

The United States is another major buyer (and producer) of fertilizer.

Better predictions of the monsoons will allow Indian farmers and fertilizer importers to better determine how much fertilizer will be needed in any given planting season.

Depending on how much India buys often determines how the price moves in the global market. So when the U.S. buyers start talking about making purchases the price is often determined by how many tons India bought or are planning to buy.

Simple equations:

  • Good monsoon season in India=More fertilizer purchased
  • More tons of fertilizer purchased by India=Higher prices to the US (and other international) buyers
  • Higher fertilizer prices=Higher food prices.

See how easy that was to go from the monsoons to an American grocery store?


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