NEW DELHI, April 27 (Bernama) -- India has predicted a normal monsoon for the third consecutive year, bringing relief to millions of farmers who depend on good rains for a bumper harvest.
"It will be a normal monsoon this year," Earth Sciences Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh announced at a packed press conference here Thursday, Press Trust of India reported.
He said there was 47 per cent probability of a normal monsoon as opposed to 24 per cent probability of below normal rains this season.
"Quantitatively, monsoon season rainfall is likely to be 99 per cent of the long period average (LPA) with a model error of five per cent," Deshmukh said.
The LPA for the country as a whole is pegged at 89 cm, which is the average rainfall for the 50-year period from 1951-2000.
Monsoon is crucial for crops such as rice, soyabean, cotton and maize.
Nearly 60 per cent of farmlands in the country depend on rain.
The agriculture sector will maintain its growth momentum of 3.5 per cent and may surpass it, reports said.
India is estimated to have harvested a record 252.56 million tonnes of foodgrains in the 2011-12 crop year compared to 244.78 million tonnes in the previous year.