Farmers in Nigeria have been urged to properly utilise the annual seasonal rainfall predictions produced by the Nigeria Meteorology Agency (NiMet) to overcome problems arising from changes in weather which hamper proper planning for farming activities.
This forms part of the outcome of one-day training on the 2020 Seasonal Rainfall Predictions (SRP) Step Down for farmers in Bauchi State, held on Tuesday at the conference hall of Bauchi State Agricultural Development Project (BSADP), Bauchi.
The training was organised by the Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) in collaboration with NiMet and Oxfam Nigeria and facilitated by the state chapter of the Association of Small-scale Agro Producers in Nigeria (ASSAPIN).
In her opening remarks, the State President of ASSAPIN, Hajiya Amina Bala Jibrin said that timely, reliable and useful climate information and early warning are very vital for farmers.
According to her, these will not only help in farming activities but also protect the livelihoods of millions of farmers in the country.
Hajiya Jibrin informed that the one-day training programme was organised for farmers with a view to equipping them with vital information relating to rainfall predictions so that they will know which crops to plant and when.
She added that the training is simultaneously being held in Adamawa, Bauchi and Plateau states.
“As I am talking to you now, this step-down training is going on for farming communities in Adamawa, Bauchi and Plateau states to enable farmers acquaint themselves with the seasonal rainfall predictions to equip them in crop selection, to know the rainfall pattern as well as to know the crops that will thrive well in their areas for better yield, among others,” Hajiya Jibrin stated.
She added that if given the required collaboration and support by appropriate federal and states’ Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as well as local and international non-state actors, NiMet will adapt and step down relevant data on rainfall predictions to various stakeholders in the agricultural sector across the country.
In a paper presented at the training, a consultant agriculturalist, Mr Suwm Waje Rimbas, said in some instances extreme weather conditions have sparked an increased interest in climate change.
According to him, climate change has impacted on farm production, leading to a growing number of farmers changing how they farm to be more resilient to the change in the climate.
The agricultural consultant submitted that using the seasonal rainfall predictions by farmers will enable them to plan their agricultural activities and protect their crops whenever hazardous weather is forecasted.
He, however, lamented that small scale farmers who produce the bulk of food in the country are vulnerable to changing weather patterns.
In view of this, Rimbas called for measures to build up climate resilience that can enable small-scale farmers withstand climate change.
He, therefore, advised farmers, especially small-scale farmers to use the seasonal rainfall predictions in choosing crop varieties that are optimal for farming seasons.
The rainfall predictions, according to him, will help to support them to take decisions suitable for each farming season.