• Thursday, June 20, 2024

News

India’s monsoon rains arrive early

The monsoon season is vital for India’s economy, providing nearly 70 per cent of the water needed for farming and replenishing reservoirs and aquifers.

Rain lashes parts of Kottayam district in Kerela state. (Photo credit: ANI)

By: Vivek Mishra

Monsoon rains reached India’s southern Kerala coast earlier than expected on Thursday, the national weather office announced.

This early arrival could lead to a bountiful harvest, potentially boosting farm and economic growth in Asia’s third-largest economy.

Typically, summer rains begin in Kerala around June 1 and spread across the country by mid-July. These rains initiate the planting of crops such as rice, corn, cotton, soybeans, and sugarcane.

The monsoon season is vital for India’s economy, providing nearly 70 per cent of the water needed for farming and replenishing reservoirs and aquifers.

Almost half of India’s farmland relies on the annual June-September rains for irrigation.

Consistent monsoon rains will also offer relief from the intense heat wave that has seen temperatures surpass 50 degrees Celsius in parts of northern and western India.

According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), India is expected to receive an average amount of rain in June, though temperatures are likely to remain above normal.

This year’s monsoon rains are projected to be 106 per cent of the long-term average.

The IMD defines average or normal rainfall as between 96 per cent and 104 per cent of a 50-year average of 87 cm (35 inches) for the four-month season.

In 2023, below-average rains reduced reservoir levels and affected food production. The government responded by restricting exports of rice, wheat, sugar, and onions.

The resumption of exports depends on the recovery of production in 2024, which relies on good monsoon rainfall. India is the world’s second-largest producer of rice, wheat, and sugar.

Abundant rains could also help reduce food inflation, which has been above the central bank’s comfort level.

The La Nina weather phenomenon, which increases rainfall in India, is expected to occur during July and September.

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