New Delhi: India’s key monsoon rains were 25% below normal in the week to 6 July, a sharp reversal from the 10% above average rains in the previous week, the weather office said on Thursday, reflecting a predicted lull in the monsoon’s progress.
The rainfall was weakest in the rice, cotton and oilseeds growing areas of east, west and central India.
“Weak conditions will continue even in the next week, but there could be a revival in rainfall over eastern India,” a source in the weather office said.
Overall, India has forecast the monsoon will be slightly below normal.
July is the key planting month during the June-September monsoon, when rainfall distribution over major crop regions is important for sowing crops.
India aims to produce a record 245 million tonnes of grains in the crop year that started on 1 July, a rise of about 3.9% over the previous year.
Last year, rainfall was two percent above normal in the week to 7 July after a weak start in June, but rains picked up in the remaining period of the four-month monsoon and ended as normal.
In the past week, rains over the rice, cane and cotton areas of southern Andhra Pradesh state were 23-62% above normal, but rains over the soybean areas of central and western were poor.
A well distributed monsoon would boost farm production and help ease high food inflation that stood at 7.6% in the year to 25 June.