South-west monsoon, the key to the agriculture driven trillion-dollar Indian economy, today brought showers to Kerala bringing much-needed relief to farmers.
"Monsoon has reached Kerala," a top India Meteorological Department (IMD) official said.
Kerala usually receives monsoon showers by June 1, but scientists said there was no need to paint a gloomy picture as the progress of the seasonal rainfall phenomenon was well with the forecast limits which have a model error of four days.
"As of now the monsoonal flow is strong and Kerala and parts of South Karnataka will continue to get rains for the next two to three days," D Sivananda Pai, Director National Climate Centre and lead forecaster for monsoon, told PTI.
Pai said conditions were favourable for further advance of monsoon.
Monsoon watchers attribute the slight delay in the onset of monsoon to Typhoon Mawar which was active in western Pacific Ocean off the Philippines and sucking away moisture and wind currents to power itself.
The IMD declares the onset of monsoon over Kerala when 50% of the 14 observation stations in the state and Lakshadweep islands report rainfall for 48 hours.
Monsoon rains are crucial for agriculture as only 40% of the cultivable area is under irrigation.
The farm sector contributes about only 15 per cent to the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), but it employs about 60% of India's population.
On the back of good monsoon in 2010 and 2011, the country harvested a record foodgrains production of 245 million tonnes and 252.56 million tonnes, respectively.