MUMBAI India's June-September monsoon rains could start withdrawing from the north-western region of the country in the next 3-4 days, the weather department said on Tuesday.
The monsoon usually starts withdrawing in the first week of September, but this year it has been delayed by nearly two weeks.
"Conditions are becoming favorable for withdrawal of Southwest monsoon from some parts of West Rajasthan (in north-western India) during next 3-4 days," the India Meteorological Department said.
The monsoon, which delivers 70 percent of India's annual rainfall, is critical for the country's 263 million farmers and their rice, sugarcane, corn, cotton and soybean crops because nearly half of its farmland lacks irrigation.
The country has so far received 5 percent lower rainfall than normal in the current monsoon season.
As on Sept. 9, farmers had cultivated summer-sown crops on 105.4 million hectares, up 4.1 percent from a year ago, farm ministry data showed.
(Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)