India had the driest June in five years, says IMD as monsoon gets delayed; country stares at another agriculture crisis

Mumbai: India had its driest June in five years because monsoon rains were delayed, the weather department said late on Sunday, raising fears for crops and the broader economy.

 India had the driest June in five years, says IMD as monsoon gets delayed; country stares at another agriculture crisis

Representational image. Reuters

Overall, the monsoon rains were a third lower than average, though, in some states including the sugar cane growing northern state of Uttar Pradesh, they were as much as 61 percent lower, data from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) showed.

About 55 percent of India’s arable land is rain-fed, and agriculture makes up about 15 percent of Asia’s third-largest economy, which is already suffering a slowdown.

If the rains don’t improve over the next two to three weeks, India could be facing a crisis that hammers harvests and rural demand, analysts said. Companies that sell everything from tractors to fertilizers to consumer goods to farmers would be vulnerable.

Farmers had planted crops on 14.7 million hectares as on 28 June, down almost 10 percent from the previous year, the farm ministry’s data showed.

Updated Date: Jul 01, 2019 09:55:04 IST