In the fourth week ended June 27 of the June-September monsoon season in India, rains were 18% below average, reports said citing data from the India Meteorological Department.
"Monsoon rains are less than normal but can still make up the deficit in next 10 to 15 days," reports said citing M. Rajeevan, a senior scientist at the ministry of earth sciences.
Rains so far from June 1 have been 23% below average, compared with a 10.7% surplus in June 1-29 last year. They picked up in the week to June 20 to just 5% below average.
Planting of crops, and thereby the yield, would get adversely affected if this situation prevails.
The insufficient rainfall has affected the planting of pulses, cotton, paddy and soybean. The next two weeks could be crucial as late sowing can hit yields. In some areas, farmers might have to sow a second time because rains failed after the first planting.
Weather officials said the rains were expected to improve next week.
"We expect monsoon to progress further deep into central India and also towards north India during next week," reports said citing a senior official at the IMD.
The weather office last week cut its prediction to 96% for the June-September season, the least since 2009 when it registered 78%. The bureau defines normal precipitation as 96-104% of the average rainfall received between 1951 and 2000.
In India, where agriculture and farming account for 15% of the $2tn economy, timely and sufficient rainfall is extremely crucial as 55% of the arable land depends on rains for water needs.
The weather office has forecast average rains in 2012, the third drought-free year in a row.
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