Indian farmers likely to be hit by below normal monsoon rains this year

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NEW DELHI – India is expected to get below normal monsoon rains this year after four straight years of normal monsoon yielding bumper crops.

The India Meteorological Department says in a statement released Thursday that the rainfall is likely to be 95 per cent of the 50-year average, a bad news for Indian farmers who heavily rely on monsoon rains.

The reason cited is an El Nino, a warming of the central Pacific once every few years, from a combination of wind and waves in the tropics. It shakes up climate around the world, changing rain and temperature patterns.

The IMD statement predicted a 60 per cent chance of an El Nino developing during India’s monsoon season from June-October.

Monsoon rains are crucial for Indian agriculture, because nearly 60 per cent of its farmland is rainfed.

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