India's monsoon rains to arrive on time
New Delhi, May 15, 2012
India's 2012 monsoon rains are likely to hit the southern coast on time on June 1, the weather department said on Tuesday, brightening farm output prospects as farmers can plant crops like cotton and paddy on time and reap good yields.
The four-month long rainy season starts over the Kerala coast and covers the rest of India and neighbouring countries by mid-July.
Last month, India's weather office forecast normal rains for the third straight year. It had said the country was likely to avoid a drought in 2012 as monsoon rains were likely to be average.
"Arrival of rains on time is good news. Sowing will happen on time, which is good for yields," said Nalini Rao, an analyst at Angel Commodities. More than half of India's arable land is rainfed and most farmers start cultivation after the first shower.
The rainfall is vital for farm output and economic growth. Farming accounts for about 15 percent of the nearly $2 trillion economy.
"Progress of monsoon is crucial. Sometime it hits southern coast on time, but delays progress in rest of the country. So we need to keep an eye on its progress," Rao said.
India is the world's second-biggest producer of rice, wheat, sugar and cotton and also one of the largest consumers, with a population of about 1.2 billion.
The weather department last year forecast monsoon rains would hit the southern coast of Kerala on May 31, but they arrived two days before that. - Reuters