New Delhi: Monsoon in India, vital for farmers and the larger economy, will revive in central states by 1 September 2007, and crops are growing well following good rains in key agricultural states, officials and traders said.
There has been devastating flooding in the last month in some eastern states, but overall this year’s rains have been a boon at 103% of the long-term average up to 22 August, a weather department official, who did not wish to be named, told Reuters.
“We are happy that monsoon rains have neither been extreme nor deficient barring some extra rains in isolated areas, causing floods,” the official said.
He added that two weeks of poor rains in central states were likely to end by 1 September 2007.
Another official, based at the department’s observatory in the western city of Pune, said the season’s rains had been “good for farm activities”.
The monsoon is vital for summer-sown crops, including rice, cotton, oilseeds and sugarcane, which are planted in July and harvested from September-October.
“Monsoon rains have been good this year and the weak patch did not impact oilseed sowing, which was largely completed by July-end or the first week of August,” Govindbhai Patel, an oilseed trader from the western state of Gujarat, said.
Oilseeds are mainly grown in central and western states.
According to government data released on Friday, farmers have planted oilseeds on 16.7 million hectares (41.3 million acres), up from 15.5 million last season.
Planting of other crops has also been progressing well.
“We are heading for yet another bumper sugar production as planting of cane, which is a water-intensive crop, is much higher due to bountiful rains,” said Mukesh Kuwadia, secretary general of the Bombay Sugar Merchant Association.
Growers have planted sugarcane on 5.1 million hectares this year against 4.8 million last year, the farm ministry data showed.
The four-month southwest monsoon kicks off in the southern state of Kerala in June, and begins to pull back in September starting from the western state of Rajasthan.
“We believe monsoon will start retreating from the first week of September but it is going to be a slow and gradual process,” the weather official said.
With only 40% of India’s cultivable land irrigated, the monsoon is important for its trillion-dollar economy as it determines farm output and subsequent rural demand for a range of consumer products.