The monsoon, which accounts for four-fifths of India’s annual rainfall, may revive in the next four days, the weather office said. This will bring relief to cotton and sugar farmers in the western states.
The rains haven’t moved to western parts of the country since 29 May after a cyclone disrupted the weather front that induced an early onset over the southern state of Kerala, said A.B. Mazumdar, deputy director general at the India Meteorological Department.
The timing of the monsoon season is crucial for India’s 234 million farmers and their crops of rice, soybeans, peanuts and lentils. Farm output accounts for about a fifth of the nation’s $854 billion economy.
The stalling of the weather system may not delay planting just yet.
“We will be worried only if there is an undue delay in the monsoon,” said O.P. Agarwal, executive director at the East India Cotton Association. “Preparation for cotton sowing has not been hampered by lack of rains.”
Rains have so far covered Kerala, southern parts of Tamil Nadu, parts of Karnataka, and Goa. “The monsoon weather system was disrupted by the cyclonic storm and could now take three to four days to re-establish,” Mazumdar said in a telephone interview from Pune. The season runs from 1 June to 30 September.
The monsoon’s onset over Mumbai, India’s financial capital, may be delayed because of the disruption of the weather system, said K. Sathidevi, director at the weather bureau in Mumbai.
The city typically receives its first showers on 10 June.
Rains may advance in the northeastern states in the next three days, most likely helping planting of rice, the weather office said in a release on Wednesday.
Rainfall this year will be 95% of the long-term average, a level deemed normal, the bureau said on 19 April.