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Delayed monsoon may slow down sowing of crops even if it gathers pace later

Monsoon showers reached Kerala on Saturday, after a week's delay

Pratik Parija | Bloomberg 

drought, monsoon, agriculture

The southwest monsoon, which waters more than half of India’s farmland, arrived in the country’s southern coast more than a week later than normal.

showers reached Kerala on Saturday, said Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, additional director general of Meteorology at India’s Meteorological Department. The department in May had predicted a June 6 onset for the June-September rainy period. The typically reaches the southern state on June 1. The private forecaster Weather Services Pvt. saw it hitting the southern coast on June 7.

The monsoon, which accounts for more than 70% of India’s annual rainfall, is critical to the nation’s crop output and

ALSO READ: Monsoon hits Kerala coast today a week after delay, says IMD

Farmers of grains, pulses, cotton and sugarcane typically wait for the to start before they begin planting. Any deficit in showers during the early part of the season could delay sowing and reduce crops, even if the monsoon gathers pace later.

The meteorological department forecast in May that annual during the monsoon season is likely to be 96% of the long-term average. Last year’s monsoon was 91% of the average, falling under the weather office’s definition of a below-normal monsoon and missing forecasts for normal rain for a second year.

First Published: Sat, June 08 2019. 14:08 IST