Monsoon Rainfall in India Forecast to be ‘Normal’ for Third Year

India’s southwest monsoon, which irrigates more than half of the country’s farmland and is critical for economic growth, is forecast to be normal for a third year.

Total rainfall during the June-September rainy period is likely to be 98% of a long-term average, Madhavan Nair Rajeevan, secretary of the Ministry of Earth Sciences, said at an online conference on Friday. The forecast has a margin of error of 5%.

The monsoon is crucial for India as about 60% of more than 1.3 billion people depend directly or indirectly on agriculture, which accounts for about 18% of its economy. Normal rains would help support an economic recovery, which is facing new risks from a resurgence in virus cases. India reported more than 200,000 new Covid-19 infections on Thursday, its highest one-day surge since the pandemic broke out.

Rains during the four-month period not only water some fields directly, but fill reservoirs that help irrigate winter-sown crops. A good monsoon boosts crop output, while deficient rains lead to drinking water shortages, lower crop output and higher imports of some commodities. The nation is the world’s top grower of cotton, the second-biggest producer of wheat, rice and sugar, and the largest buyer of palm oil.

A monsoon is considered normal when rains are recorded between 96% and 104% of the 50-year average.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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