Monsoon rains forecast to arrive on India's southern coast around June 1

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Monsoon rains are likely to enter India through the southern coast around June 1, the state-run weather office said on Thursday, marking the start of the four-month rainy season that is crucial for the country’s farm-dependent economy.

Weather conditions are “very likely to become favourable from June 1, 2020” for the monsoon onset over the southern state of Kerala, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said in a statement.

The IMD had earlier forecast the arrival of monsoon rains over Kerala on June 5, four days later than usual.

Nearly half of India’s farmland, without any irrigation cover, depends on annual June-September rains to grow crops such as rice, corn, cane, cotton and soybeans.

The IMD said last month India is likely to get average monsoon rains this year, raising expectations of higher farm output. The Indian economy, Asia’s third-biggest, is reeling from lockdown measures to curb the coronavirus pandemic.

Reporting by Mayank Bhardwaj; Editing by Frances Kerry