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Farm Minister expects normal monsoon

The June-September monsoon, vital for agricultural output and economic growth, irrigates about 60 per cent of farms in India, the world’s second-biggest producer of rice, wheat, sugar and cotton. Agriculture accounts for about 15 per cent of Indias nearly $2-trillion economy, Asias third-largest. Last week, a senior weather official had told Reuters news agency an average monsoon was likely in 2012, despite fears the El Nino weather pattern might emerge in the second half of the season.

According to state-run India Meteorological Department classification, rain between 96-104 per cent of a 50-year average of 89 centimetres is considered normal. The department is expected to release the first official forecast for the 2012 southwest monsoon on Thursday. Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar also allayed fears of uneven rains, saying one need not worry on the monsoon this year.

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