Monsoon to arrive in 3-4 days officials
Tuesday, 27 May 2008

REUTERS, NEW DELHI - India's June-September monsoon rains, vital for the farm economy and overall growth, are expected to reach Kerala in the next 3-4 days, weather officials said in a statement on Monday.

With the strengthening of westerly winds, the southwest monsoon has advanced into more southern and central parts of the Bay of Bengal, the statement said.

"Thus conditions are becoming favourable for onset of monsoon over Kerala during the next 3-4 days," the statement said.

The Indian Meteorological Department this month said the annual monsoon rains were forecast to reach southern India slightly earlier than normal on May 29.

Officials have forecast rains in 2008 at 99 percent of the long-term average.

Analysts say an early monsoon would help crops like rice, soybean and groundnut, which are sown in June and July, and could help India improve its food security amid global shortages.

Fast rising food prices have been a major driver of inflation in recent weeks, pushing the wholesale price rate to its highest in 3-1/2 years above 8 percent, and causing a major headache for the Congress Party-led government facing a string of elections.

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