New Delhi: The Met Department on Wednesday said it expects moderate to light rains next week after recent downpour inflicted damage to crops like wheat and mustard and some vegetables.
It also said it too "premature" to predict southwest monsoon now and will come out with the first forecast in April.
"It is too premature to forecast about southwest monsoon now. We will release our first forecast in April. Monsoon cannot be forecast by El nino factor alone," India Meteorological Department (IMD) Director General L S Rathore told PTI.
Asked whether the recent unseasonal rains would continue, he said, "Rains are expected on March 8-9 in states such as Punjab, Haryana, western Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir. There could be rains in central India, especially in Madhya Pradesh."
"There will not be heavy rains like we had earlier. It will be moderate to light rains next week," he added.
On damage to rabi crops due to the recent heavy downpour, he said there has been damage to crops like wheat, mustard and some vegetables and fruits.
However, assessment is being done by the Agriculture Ministry, he added.
Southwest monsoon, the lifeline of Indian agriculture, was deficient by 12 per cent during June-September period of 2014, affecting overall foodgrain production in the 2014-15 crop year (July-June).
Foodgrain production is estimated to decline by 3 per cent to 257.07 million tonnes in 2014-15 crop year on expected decline in output of rice, coarse cereals and pulses due to erratic rain.
Monsoon is crucial for Indian agriculture as more than 50 per cent farm land is rainfed.Moderate to light rains next week after recent downpour: IMD