Monsoon revives after weakest start in five years

Tags: News
Monsoon rains revived in the key planting month after recording the weakest first month of the June-September monsoon season in five years, weather officials said on Thursday.

A late surge in the monsoon rains has come as a relief to farmers who can now begin to plant summer crops such as rice, corn, cane, soybean and cotton.

"The monsoon has revived in many parts of central and north India," said B.P. Yadav, head of the National Weather Forecasting Centre at the India Meteorological Department.

India, one of the world's top producers and consumers of rice, corn, cooking oil, sugar and cotton, relies heavily on the summer rains as nearly half of its farmland is rainfed.

July, the second month of the monsoon season, usually receives the maximum rainfall, accounting for about a third of the seasonal rainfall. Summer sowing activities pick up during the month as the monsoon rains cover the entire the country.

"The revival phase is expected to continue next week," said a weather official, who did not wish to be named as he is not authorised to speak to the media.

Annual rains arrived five days late than the normal June 1 start over the southern Kerala coast, and then covered half of India four days later than the usual date of June 15.

India's farm sector shares around 14 percent of its nearly $2 trillion economy, and two-thirds of its 1.2 billion population live in rural areas.

Rainfall was 53 percent below average for the week ended on July 2 as against 31 percent deficiency in the previous week as the monsoon advancement towards the central and north regions had stalled after the second week.

However, Yadav said monsoon progress has resumed in the first two days of July, with the country receiving heavy rainfall in many parts of north India, including the capital city New Delhi.

On Wednesday, a top official confirmed the revival in soybean areas of central and cane areas of north India, but warned the country was still likely to have a below-average rainfall in 2014 due to the weak start.

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