New Delhi: India’s monsoon rainfall in the key crop-planting month of July has been normal, recovering sharply after a 16% deficit in June, two sources in the weather office told Reuters on Tuesday.
Heavy showers, mainly in soybean-growing areas in the past week, have narrowed to 7% the shortfall in total monsoon rains since 1 June, raising hopes of a strong harvest in the world’s leading consumer of rice, cooking oils and sugar.
“The improvement in monsoon showers has given hope for above normal rains in August-September,” said a senior official of the India Meteorological Department who did not wish to be named.
Rainfall has been well distributed over major crop-growing regions of the country, officials at the weather office said.
“Good rains in the crucial month of July will help bumper production for summer crops,” LS Rathore, head of the agricultural meteorology division of the weather office, told Reuters.
Vigorous monsoon rains will help rein in soaring inflation, which has stood in double digits for five consecutive months and has been rising after last year’s monsoon delivered the weakest rainfall in nearly four decades.
The Opposition has sought a special discussion and vote in Parliament over high prices this week, attacking the government on an issue that has emerged as a major policy challenge.
India produced 218 million tonnes of grains in 2009-10 with summer sown crops such as rice and soybean sharing nearly half of the output.
Last week, a top weather forecaster said the vital monsoon rains would narrow a shortfall in rainfall in the June-September period despite a lean patch in mid-July.
The weather office expects good rains in coming days as favourable weather conditions are expected to develop over the Bay of Bengal on the east coast in the next 48 hours.
The weather office also expects good rains over rice-producing Orissa, and soybean-growing central India this week.
“Monsoon showers at regular intervals will help the soybean crop which is in good condition now,” said Rajesh Agrawal, a spokesman of the Soybean Processors Association of India based in Indore.
Monsoon rainfall has been three times the normal level in the main soybean region in the past two to three days, weather officials said.
In southern India, where rice, cane and corn are grown, rainfall has been a quarter above average in recent days.