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Monsoon 24 pct below normal in past week

The relatively dry spell has not yet hurt agriculture,but is a matter of concern as July is the most important month.

Written by Reuters | New Delhi | Published: July 15, 2010 4:20:34 pm

Monsoon rains were 24 per cent below normal in the week to July 14,sources in the Indian Meteorological Department said,reviving fears of crop loss if rainfall remains weak.

The relatively dry spell has not yet hurt agriculture,but is a matter of concern as July is the most important month for sowing key crops such as soybean,rice,cotton,cane and corn.

“It is not a healthy situation,” said S. Raghuraman an analyst with Agriwatch,a New Delhi-based consultancy.

The weather office had forecast that rainfall in July would recover to 98 per cent of normal in July after falling 16 per cent short of average last month.

India is counting heavily on good monsoon rains this year after last year’s drought that triggered a sharp rise in inflation and provoked widespread protests.

Although rainfall was low,the weakest after the 25 percent deficit in the last week of June,weather officials said the rain had been well distributed and the soil moisture was adequate after heavy showers in early July.

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