Nigeria to experience ‘below normal -to -normal rainfall’ in 2019– NiMet 

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By Aminat Isah
The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet)  had predicted that the 2019 climate is not likely to be friendly, the country is expected to experience below normal- to- normal rainfall season this year.
The Director General NiMet, Professor Sani Mashi disclosed this at the public presentation of the 2019 Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP) and its Socio- economic implications as well as the unveiling the 2018 Climate Review in Abuja on Thursday, and said rains are expected to start late especially in the northern parts of the country while the south-eastern zone as well as the Coastal areas will experience normal onset of the rains.
“The seasonal forecast for this year is very important because we are predicting that the climate is really not going to be pleasant, as the rains are not going to start early. While most of the Northern States will experience earlier than normal end growing season. Shorter length of the growing season is predicted for most parts of the country.
“When we say start of the rain it means that the rain will not start so significantly enough to allow farmers to start planting, if that is not possible, as far as the farmers are concerned, so long as they cannot plant, the climate is not pleasant,” said Mashi
The DG further disclosed that the onset of rain is going to be delayed, towards the northern part of the country and it is not going to start until middle or towards the end of june, and it would not start until march in the southern area of Nigeria.
The second prediction according to Mashi is that temperatures are going to be higher than normal in most part of the country because the country has been observing the increasing trend of warmness  within the last 3-4years which is in line with the world meteorological organisation.
“The length of the growing season is going to be shorter  varying between about 100-200shorter less than, meaning that some farmers would have less than three months within which to plant and harvest when a number of crops require four months to mature, meaning it is really going to be a problem. There is also going to be the incidences of dryspell varying between eight days and in some places as far as 20days, that is sometimes rain has started and within the road the rain would simply stop while the crops are growing,before the rain gets back to the crops, it would have been severely damaged , this is a serious problem. So the bulk of the problem would affect the areas that are food basket of the country, particularly where the cereal crops and the livestock are being produced.
“We have also made prediction concerning incidences of malaria and meningitis as they are the two main diseases associated to climate within the country. With the prediction, Nigerians need to be more prepared. This year we have made prediction across the 774 local government and we are marking plans to liaise with the states to get to the lowest part of the local government as it is where the farmers stays . We are already calling on development partners and stakeholders to help everyone affected by the prediction to be well prepared to help minimise the consequences of the prediction to the barest minimum. The climate condition of 2019 not likely to be friendly. Calls on international bodies for continued support.”
The Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika earlier in his remarks said the Federal Government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari has made concerted efforts to revive the agricultural sector as a way of diversifying the nation’s economy, increasing revenue sources, and to discourage the country’s over-dependence on revenue generated from sales of crude oil  and by extension creating more job opportunities and more food made available for all citizens.
He noted that agriculture and food security are closely linked to weather and climate conditions as productivity depends on their interplay, as adverse weather and climate conditions directly affect agricultural productivity, livelihoods, water security, land use, agricultural marketing systems, market instability, food prices, trade and economic policies and small holder farmers, livestock herders and forest dependent communities are often highly vulnerable to these impacts.
The Minister further said it was imperative to note that the early release of SRP information before the beginning of rainy season every year is not only to ensure effective harnessing of the climate resource, but to also to guarantee minimal losses from associated hazards, which are becoming quite devastating in this era of Climate Change, adding that it is on records that increase of at least 30% agricultural yields can be achieved if the relevant meteorological information is utilized.
He urged the farmers and other stakeholders to get in touch with NiMet to access Meteorological advisories and updates within the growing season.

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