Shimla, July 1 : With the southwest monsoon in Himachal Pradesh being delayed by at least 10 days, the pre-monsoon rains also remained 46 per cent deficient in June, the weather bureau said on Monday.
This has severely affected the sowing of the kharif crop mainly paddy, maize and oil seeds.
"The deficiency in districts ranges from 15 to 79 per cent," Indian Meteorological Department Director Manmohan Singh told IANS.
He said the cumulative rainfall from June 1 to June 30 was 54.2 mm against the normal precipitation of 100.5 mm, which was 46 per cent less than the normal rainfall.
The worst affected Kangra, Hamirpur, Sirmaur and Una districts received 79, 73, 66 and 64 per cent deficit rain during this period.
The Met has predicted the arrival of the southwest monsoon in the state on July 5-6. The normal arrival of the monsoon in the state is June 25.
"The sowing of paddy this season has been delayed by 10-15 days. Also, the sowing of maize has been severely hit," farmer Naresh Thakur told IANS over phone from a village on the outskirts of Bilaspur town.
Added C.D. Verma, a vegetable grower of Dawanti village near Jubbarhatti on the outskirts of Shimla: "The sapling transplantation of tomatoes has been badly affected in the region owing to less moisture in the soil. The monsoon is already delayed and this will badly hit the local economy."
Officials of the Agriculture Department said the erratic rainfall might hit crops, particularly in the low and mid hills.
Agriculture is the main occupation of the people in the state, providing direct employment to 69 per cent of its workforce.
More than 80 per cent horticultural and agricultural activities here are rainfed.