Monsoon rains to start withdrawal from September 9

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's monsoon is likely to start withdrawing from the north-western states from September 9, slightly ahead of the normal schedule, after delivering above-average rains, two weather department officials said on Friday.

India's monsoon rains usually start retreating from the country's west by mid-September. Summer crops do not need heavy rain at this stage of growth, but just sporadic downpours to aid the maturing process.

"We are expecting the withdrawal of monsoon rains to start from Rajasthan and adjourning north-west India around early next week," said B.P. Yadav, director at India Meteorological Department.

The south Asian country has so far received 8 percent more rainfall than average since the beginning of the four-month season on June 1, allowing farmers to increase acreage.

The monsoon, crucial for the 55 percent of Indian farmland that does not have irrigation, brought the heaviest rains in nearly two decades during its first half this year, fanning hopes for bumper harvests.

(Reporting by Ratnajyoti Dutta; Editing by Sunil Nair)

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