Monsoon rains ease as retreat begins

NEW DELHI Thu Sep 27, 2012 5:46pm IST

A couple stands under an umbrella on a platform in a park as it rains in New Delhi August 24, 2012. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/Files

A couple stands under an umbrella on a platform in a park as it rains in New Delhi August 24, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Adnan Abidi/Files

Related Topics

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's monsoon will end in a few days with a widespread drought avoided, latest weather data showed, as the crucial rains picked up from the end of August to help summer-sown crops and boost prospects for the major food producer's winter grains harvest.

The rains - crucial for more than half the country's farmland - were 36 percent below average in the week to September 26, the weather office said on Thursday.

Rains were 44 percent above average in the previous week after the heaviest downpours seen during the monsoon season.

They were deficient - a drought, in layman's terms - in the first half of the June-September season, but the late revival has alleviated the situation in much of the country with just a few states still suffering dry conditions.

The government's first estimates suggest India's summer-sown rice, corn and other grain crops could be down about a tenth from a year ago because of the poor early start to the rains, but no ban on exports of agri-commodities is expected.

Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar urged farmers this week to take advantage of the late-landing rain and plant their winter crops early to boost yields in wheat and rapeseed.

"We must take advantage of revival in rains and improvement in soil moisture and encourage farmers to go for early sowing of winter crops and more than make up for the loss in kharif (summer-sown)," Pawar said.

India monsoon graphics suite - here

Four straight weeks of heavier rains than normal from the last week of August have helped India, one of the world's leading producers and consumers of farm commodities, escape a prolonged large-scale drought.

"This year's monsoon has evaded a nationwide meteorological drought due to a dramatic late turnaround, but some states have faced drought," said S. C. Bhan, a director at the Indian weather office.

The country last faced a severe widespread drought in 2009 and had to import sugar, pushing global prices to 30-year highs. This year, drought has hit lentils and cereal crops in some states. Overall, rains are now just 7 percent below average in the entire season.

The monsoon has already retreated from Rajasthan, slightly late but indicating prolonged rains that can damage harvests of summer-sown crops were unlikely. The rains are expected to continue in the northeast until the end of the month.

India's weather office expects the monsoon to completely withdraw from the northwest parts of the country by the weekend.

"Overall weather conditions will be dry in most parts of the country from early next week," Bhan said.

Rains below 90 percent of a 50-year average are termed deficient by the weather office.

(Editing by Jo Winterbottom and Catherine Evans)

FILED UNDER:
  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Reforms Plan

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Border Talks

Border Talks

India names Ajit Doval as special envoy for China border talks.  Full Article 

WTO Deal

WTO Deal

U.S. seeks to step up India trade talks  Full Article 

Phone Masts

Phone Masts

American Tower to buy Bharti Nigeria phone masts for $1.1 billion  Full Article 

Infrastructure Plan

Infrastructure Plan

India targets private cash to build railways to its ports.  Full Article 

Shadow Banking

Shadow Banking

Reserve Bank planning more measures for NBFCs.  Full Article 

Auto Sector

Auto Sector

Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors lift 2014 global sales target on China, emerging markets  Full Article 

Oil Prices

Oil Prices

Some fund managers see oil falling to $60 without OPEC cut.  Full Article 

Project Shelved

Project Shelved

Jindal Steel shelves $10 bln project after coal setback.  Full Article 

Market Eye

Market Eye

Sensex, Nifty rise to record after China, ECB stimulus boosts risk appetite.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage