New Delhi: Monsoon rains, which have entered the key soybean-growing areas, are likely to be weak in the next three days, weather officials said on Monday.

But industry officials said sowing of soybean, the main summer-planted oilseed, would not be hit due to good soil moisture after recent pre-monsoon showers in the region.

Weather officials said rains are likely to gather momentum from 25 June.

“We expect monsoon flow to strengthen over central India from this weekend," a senior weather official, who did not wish to be named as he is not authorised to talk to the press, said.

Such weak phases were not unusual in June, the first month of the rainy season, said D. Sivananda Pai, director of the National Climate Center in Pune.

The southwest monsoon, which covered half of the country last week, has entered the soybean belt, India Meteorological Department, said on its website.

Given the healthy soil texture and the advent of monsoon, farmers could begin soybean sowing now, said A.S. Chandel, a director at Soybean Processors Association of India in Indore.

Good monsoon rains, which irrigate 60 percent of the country’s farms, will boost soybean output, lowering vegetable oil imports by the world’s top edible oil importer.

Higher soybean output will also help India, Asia’s leading soymeal exporter, ship larger quantities of the animal feed to its traditional buyers such as Japan, Korea and Thailand.

Meals, processed from oilseeds, are primarily used as cattle and poultry feed.

Last year’s weakest rains in nearly four decades reduced soybean output by 13.6% year-on-year to 8.2 million tonnes, reducing meal availability.

Policymakers are hoping good rains, after last year’s drought, will help rein in inflation, currently at more than 10%, and provide room to ease curbs on rice and wheat exports.

Soaring inflation has also been a key concern for an government panel empowered to decide on easing state controls on fuel prices.

Between 1-16 June, rains were five percent deficient due to super cyclone Phet over the Arabian sea. The cyclone slowed the initial progress of the monsoon which had hit the country’s southern Kerala coast a day ahead of schedule on 31 May.

The monsoon rains were so far good over rice, cane, oilseed and cotton areas.