India monsoon and donkey weddings
India: Villagers put frogs and donkeys in wedlock in desperate need of monsoon Reuters file photo

Villagers in rural India are performing animal weddings to satisfy the rain gods, as millions of impoverished farmers fear a weak 2014 monsoon will cause their crops to fail.

The farmers in the Shimoga district in the southern state of Karnataka married a pair of donkeys in a much-hyped wedding ceremony. Others reportedly plucked a pair of frogs from a water tank for a bizarre wedding ceremony to encourage the vital monsoon rains.

The animals were later feted in celebratory processions before being returned to their respective habitats.

Indian farmers have been struggling with a failing rains in recent weeks.

"Things are not progressing as we were expecting with the monsoon. We were expecting a stronger revival in the first week of July," said Sivanand Pai, the chief of India Metrological Department's forecast wing.

India depends heavily on the export of crops, including rice and wheat, to Asia, Africa and Middle East. A drop in the production of these cash crops would have dire consequences for the Indian economy, and would also affect international prices.

Although the rains have arrived, it has only been 43% of the average downpour across the sub-continent in the first phase of the June-September season.

For the rest of the monsoon period, the overall precipitation is expected to be 70% of the regular annual rainfall.