India’s monsoon rains were 4% below average in the week to 1 August, the weather office said on Thursday, improving from a fifth below average in the previous week as rainfall revived in soybean and rice growing areas of India.
India is facing its second drought in just four years and on Tuesday took steps to cut irrigation costs and increase fodder supplies for livestock farmers. But it held off from imposing any curb on exports of agricultural products or a ban of futures trading in them.
The June to September rains were 19% below average from the start of the season to 31 July, indicating an improvement in the key planting month of July in comparison with the first month of the season when the rains were 29% below average. In July, the rains were about 13% below average.
Rains below 90% of long-term averages in the entire season are considered “deficient”, or a drought in layman’s terms.