Annual monsoon rains arrived at the Kerala coast in southern India on Wednesday, a day later than forecast, a weather office source said, easing fears over farm and economic growth after two straight droughts hit rural income and agricultural output.
The monsoon delivers nearly 70 percent of rains that India needs to water farms, and recharge reservoirs and aquifers. Nearly half of India's farmlands, without any irrigation cover, depend on annual June-September rains to grow a number of crops.
"We'll soon make an announcement that the monsoon has arrived and it has already covered Kerala," the source said.
After its April forecast of above average rains this year, the weather office on 15 May said the monsoon would arrive by 7 June.
Despite the slight delay, the monsoon would not set back crop sowing and rains are expected to make rapid progress after their arrival, India Meteorological Department chief Laxman Singh Rathore told Reuters last month.
Farmers plant rice, cane, corn, cotton and oilseeds during the rainy months of June and July. Harvest starts from October.
Of its 1.3 billion population, more than 60 percent of people in India depend on agriculture to eke out a living.
Jettisoning a statistical method introduced under British colonial rule in the 1920s, India's meteorology office is spending $60 million on a new supercomputer to improve the accuracy of one of the world's most vital weather forecasts in time for next year's rains.
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