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06/06/24 | 6:40 pm

Monsoon reaches Maharashtra but may faulter next week

Monsoon rains have advanced into the western state of Maharashtra after covering almost all of the southern region, but they could weaken and deliver lower-than-normal rainfall next week, according to two senior officials of the India Meteorological Department (IMD).

Summer rains, crucial for driving economic growth in Asia’s third-largest economy, typically commence in the south around June 1 before spreading nationwide by mid-July, enabling farmers to plant crops like rice, corn, cotton, soybeans, and sugarcane.

The monsoon reached Maharashtra on Thursday after progressing through the southern states earlier than usual, as per a senior official from the weather department.

Maharashtra is India’s largest producer of sugar and ranks second in cotton and soybean production.

India has received 7% more rainfall than usual since the season began on June 1, according to the IMD. While the monsoon will advance further across India in the coming days, it may weaken from next week, as noted by another weather official.

“The monsoon will pause for a few days. Apart from the west coast, most other regions will experience reduced rainfall,” the official stated.

Farmers are advised to wait for adequate soil moisture levels before sowing summer crops and to avoid rushing into planting, the official emphasized.

The monsoon, a lifeline for India’s nearly $3.5-trillion economy, supplies nearly 70% of the country’s required rainfall to irrigate farms and replenish reservoirs and aquifers.

With limited irrigation infrastructure, almost half of India’s farmland, which ranks second globally in rice, wheat, and sugar production, depends on the annual monsoon rains typically spanning from June to September.

(REUTERS)

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