Farmers may witness bumper harvests for the 2018 rainy season farming as the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) 2018 Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP) shows normal rainfall will persist across the country.
The SRP report officially presented in Abuja by the Minister of State, Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika on Tuesday indicated a normal length of season with normal rainfall amounts in most parts of the country.
According to the highlights of the report with the theme "seasonal climate forecasting for sustainable development" and presented by the Director-General, NiMet, Prof. Sani Mashi, the prediction "shouldn't present any major threat to agriculture."
Giving specifics on the predictions he said: "The earliest onset date is expected to be from March 1 around the coastal region of the South-South. The onset date changes as we move northwards with areas around Maiduguri, Potiskum and Nguru predicted to have onset from June 1."
Thus "the country is expected to experience normal-to-earlier-than-normal onset. Places like Sokoto, Bauchi, Kaduna, Lafia, Makurdi and Ado-Ekiti, Akure,Calabar and Eket are expected to experience early onset while places like Yelwa, Bida, Abuja, Iseyin, Abeokuta, Lagos Island, Ikeja and Umuahia are likely to experience late onset. Other parts of the country are expected to have normal onset."
On cessation of rains, he said "the end of 2018 growing season is expected to commence from September 28. The earliest cessation date is expected to start from September 28. This will occur around Sokoto and Katsina. The southern coastal cities, with ample oil moisture should have their cessation as late as December."
But the "cessation of growing season is expected to be normal across most parts of the country. Early cessation is anticipated over Jos, Ibi, Uyo and Ikeja. Cessation will however be little delayed over parts of Ibadan, Ondo and Warri" the NiMet DG explained.
Also "the length of growing season is expected to range from 117 days to 287 days increasing from north to south. Normal length of growing season is predicted for most parts of the country. However cities such as Yelwa, Bida, Shai, Ikeja, Abuja, Jos, Ibi, Makurdi, Ogoja and Ikom are expected to experience longer than normal length of growing season" he noted.
On the impact, he said "farmers around Sokoto, Katisna, Yobe, Zanfara, Kebbi, Jigawa, Kano and Borno are advised to source for early maturing and drought resistant varieties of seeds to avoid waste of resources. Farmers in Yelwa, Bida and Abuja are advised not to plant early."
In his keynote address, the Minister of State Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika advised that "it is necessary to state that the expected normal rainfall in most parts of the country does not rule out the possibility of isolated flash floods due to high intensity rainfall at the peak of the season, especially in places that are naturally prone to flooding. It is therefore important for all stakeholders to take necessary precautions to reduce the negative impacts, especially on agriculture, water resources and environment sector."
He also noted that "the Federal Government has also made significant progress on an integrated inter-modal transport system (air, land and water) that maximizes the transportation of goods, raw materials and people. This involves the construction of aviation, rail and highway infrastructure that link major cities and centers of economic activities. All these activities and programmes are sensitive to weather and climate variability."