July 24, 2019 / 1:22 PM / 4 months ago

India's monsoon rains 35% below average this week: IMD

Children play in a puddle of water as it rains at a sea front in Kochi, India June 9, 2019. REUTERS/Sivaram V/File Photo

MUMBAI (Reuters) - India’s monsoon rains were 35% below average in the week ending on Wednesday, with little rainfall over the central, western and northern parts of the country, the weather office said, raising concerns over the output of summer-sown crops.

Monsoon rains are crucial for farm output and economic growth as about 55% of India’s arable land is rain-supplied and agriculture forms about 15% of a $2.5 trillion economy that is the third biggest in Asia.

The biggest soybean growing central state of Madhya Pradesh received 67% less rainfall than average in the week, while top cotton producing Gujarat received 47% less, data from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) showed.

Overall, India has received 19% less rain than average since the monsoon season began on June 1.

Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav; Editing by Mark Potter

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