Monsoon, the lifeline of Indian agriculture, is most likely to hit Kerala by June 5 and there is no room for concern over sowing of kharif (summer) crops like paddy and pulses, a top India Meteorological Department (IMD) official said.
"Most likely, the southwest monsoon will reach Kerala by June 5," IMD Director General LS Rathore told PTI.
Asked if there is a delay in monsoon onset, he said, "There is no delay as such. We had forecast monsoon may hit Kerala on June 1 with a model error of plus/minus 4 days. This deviation of four days is normal."
Monsoon rains are crucial for agriculture as only 40 per cent of the cultivable area is under irrigation. The farm sector contributes about only 15 per cent to the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), but it employs about 60 per cent of India's population.
Mr Rathore further said that the deviation of 3-4 days in arrival of monsoon rains would have no adverse impact on sowing of kharif (summer) crops.
There would be no impact on cotton and sugarcane crops as these long-duration crops are mostly cultivated in areas with irrigation facilities.
However, Mr Rathore pointed out there could be some effect on plantation crops such as coffee, tea, cashew, coconut and as well as fruits like mango because of moisture deficiency.
"Post monsoon 2011, moisture deficiency has accumulated in some districts where these plantation crops are grown.
Moisture deficiency is mounting because of lack of pre-monsoon showers," he explained.
In the last six years, the southwest monsoon has hit Kerala between May 26 and May 31.
On the back of good monsoon in 2010 and 2011, the country harvested a record food grains production of 245 million tonnes and 252.56 million tonnes, respectively.