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India's best monsoon in 25 years paves way for plentiful crops

New Delhi

INDIA recorded its best monsoon season in 25 years, paving the way for more bountiful crops including oilseeds and pulses.

The monsoon rains, which provide more than 70 per cent of the country's annual rainfall and run from June to September, totalled 968.3 millimetres, data from the India Meteorological Department show. That's 10 per cent above the 50-year average, and the highest since 1994.

The rainy season waters more than half of the country's total farmland and is critical to agriculture because it affects not only the summer crop but also influences winter harvests. Rains were below average in the past two years, leading to a decline in output of crops from cotton to pulses.

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"Excess rain in some areas has improved residual soil moisture and that will benefit sowing of winter crops," said K K Singh, head of the Agromet division of the India Meteorological Department. "This will help increase productivity of oilseeds and pulses."

This year's monsoon brought normal or excess rain to 84 per cent of the country, with the rest getting insufficient rainfall. The weather office in May forecast rainfall at 96 per cent of the average amid a weaker El Nino.

A monsoon is considered normal when total rains are recorded between 96 per cent and 104 per cent of the average. BLOOMBERG