Monsoon rains arrive in India, bring cheer to farmers

Jun 01, 2013
Monsoon clouds hover over the Mumbai skyline on September 7, 2012. The annual monsoon—crucial to India's food output and economic growth—has hit the southwest coast, bringing cheer to farmers and boosting hopes for the struggling economy.

The annual monsoon, crucial to India's food output and economic growth, hit the southwest coast on Saturday, bringing cheer to farmers and boosting hopes for the struggling economy.

The keenly awaited rains lashed the state of Kerala and parts of neighbouring Tamil Nadu and will now sweep across , resulting in torrential downpours over the coming months for hundreds of millions of farmers who rely on the seasonal precipitation.

"The southwest monsoon has set in over Kerala," the weather office announced on its website.

The rains that lash the subcontinent from June to September are dubbed the "economic lifeline" of India, one of the world's leading producers of rice, sugar, wheat and cotton.

The rains normally hit the southwest coast at the start of June but memories remain fresh of India's devastating in 2009 that resulted in shrivelled crops.

The weather department has forecast India will receive normal rains this year, raising prospects of a stronger performance by Asia's third-largest economy.

India's 235 million farmers still rely on the erratic rains to soak around 60 percent of the country's —despite calls for the government to improve irrigation and water-harvesting methods to ensure more stable crop output.

The rains are crucial this year for central parts of the western state of Maharashtra, India's biggest sugar-producer, which has been reeling from the worst drought in over four decades.

Last year India got below-normal rain in the first half of the wet season. The rains picked up in some areas later, but large areas of west and south India did not benefit.

The Congress-led national government's hopes of at least six percent economic growth this financial year—up from a decade low of five percent last year—hinge on a normal monsoon.

A good monsoon is also vital for the ruling Congress party ahead of elections due in 2014 as it struggles to kickstart growth in the country of 1.2 billion people.

Agriculture contributes about 15 percent to gross domestic product but the livelihood of hundreds of millions of Indians living in rural areas depends on the farming sector.

Explore further: Urgent action needed to tackle Sahel's lack of rainfall: UN

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

India's monsoon seen picking up in July

Jul 01, 2012

India's crucial monsoon rains should pick up in July after a slow start over vast swathes of the country, which has threatened crops from rice to sugar, forecasters said.

Millions of Indians facing worst drought in decades

Mar 06, 2013

Millions of people in western India are suffering their worst drought in more than four decades, with critics blaming official ineptitude and corruption for exacerbating the natural water shortage.

Bangladesh monsoon rains 'lowest since 1994'

Oct 06, 2010

Bangladesh has experienced its driest monsoon season for more than a decade despite heavy rains in neighbouring India and Pakistan that caused flooding, officials said Wednesday.

Global rice production 'to outpace consumption'

Nov 19, 2012

Global rice production for 2012 is forecast to outpace consumption this year and next because of a better-than-expected 2012 crop season, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said Monday.

Recommended for you

NASA image: Signs of deforestation in Brazil

12 hours ago

Multiple fires are visible in in this image of the Para and Mato Grosso states of Brazil. Many of these were most likely intentionally set in order to deforest the land. Deforestation is the removal of a ...

Sunblock poses potential hazard to sea life

12 hours ago

The sweet and salty aroma of sunscreen and seawater signals a relaxing trip to the shore. But scientists are now reporting that the idyllic beach vacation comes with an environmental hitch. When certain sunblock ...

Is falling recycling rate due to 'green fatigue'?

13 hours ago

It's been suggested that a recent fall in recycling rates is due to green fatigue, caused by the confusing number of recycling bins presented to householders for different materials. Recycling rates woul ...

Study to inform Maryland decision on "fracking"

15 hours ago

The Maryland Department of Environment and Department of Health and Mental Hygiene released on August 18, 2014, a report by the University of Maryland School of Public Health, which assesses the potential ...

User comments : 0