Mumbai: Crucial monsoon rains have advanced a few days ahead of schedule in the north west of the country, the weather office said, raising expectations of higher cane output in Uttar Pradesh state although a lull is still likely in early July.
The rains, which normally arrive in this area on 1 July, have now covered remaining parts of cane-growing west Uttar Pradesh and some parts of lentils-growing Rajasthan, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said in a statement on its website.
The monsoon has also reached the remaining parts of wheat-growing Punjab and Haryana, the weather office added.
India, one of the world’s largest producers and consumers of crops such as rice, sugar and corn, relies heavily on the monsoon for agricultural output as only about 40-43% of farms have irrigation.
“Rains should help in better growth of cane in Uttar Pradesh and support the expectations of an increase in sugar production to 26 million tonnes,” said Vimla Reddy, an analyst with Karvy Comtrade.
B.P. Yadav, a director at the weather office, welcomed the earlier rains in the north west but said they did not change expectations of a lull in early July.
“Overall we are still expecting a weak phase in the first week of July. How long that phase continues, we will have to see,” Yadav said.
Reddy said rains in Rajasthan could ease the chances of farmers switching from guar to castor seed.
Sources in the weather office said on Friday the monsoon rains were likely to ease this week, after arriving a few days ahead of schedule in most of the country and pouring down 23% more water than average in the last week.
The lull could mean a slowdown in planting of cane, rice, cotton and oilseeds and could affect crops which have already been planted in the early downpours.