Monsoon is likely to be "near normal" this year, the India Meteorological Department said Monday even as the risk of an El Nino weather pattern looms.
Monsoon is likely to be 96 per cent of the long period average (LPA), a senior official of the IMD said. According to the latest global forecasts, weak El Nino conditions have developed over the equatorial Pacific Ocean and they are likely to persist this summer. However, IMD officials have maintained that these conditions would weaken after summer.
LPA is the average of rainfall between 1951 and 2000, which is 89 cm. Anything between 90-95 per cent of LPA falls under the "below normal" category. The forecast has a margin of error of 5 per cent, according to the weather office.
India's southwest monsoon waters more than half of the country’s farmland and is crucial for economic growth. It shapes the livelihood of millions and influences food prices. Deficient showers in the country, the world’s second-biggest producer of rice, wheat and cotton, often leads to lower crop output and higher imports of commodities like edible oils.
(With inputs from PTI)