The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) on Wednesday advised farmers in Nasarawa to take advantage of its weather prediction to plan their farming activities and crop planting calendar.
Mr James Adamu, the Chief Agricultural Meteorologist of the agency, gave the advice in Lafia at a one-day Agriculture stakeholder’s workshop on climate change information services.
The workshop was organised by NiMet in collaboration with the Human Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) and Power of Voices Partnership-African Activists for Climate Justice (PVP-AACJ).
Adamu said that the workshop was aimed at educating farmers and other stakeholders on their roles in the production and use of seasonal climate prediction.
He said that the agency was always making information concerning the weather available to users with a view to using it to plan farming and planting calendar as well as avoid flooding before it occurs.
Adamu noted that lack of information concerning weather predictions had led to uninformed decisions by farmers across the country, adding that it had affected production and led to avoidable disasters.
“Farmers, especially from Nasarawa and Benue, suffered a lot of loses in this year’s farming season due to lack of information concerning weather prediction.
“There was a period of dry spell after the rain had started but those who planted their maize early suffered during the dry spell period.
“The prediction helps to de-risk the agricultural sector and assist farmers to take advantage of planting window to ensure improved productivity and avoid disaster,” the Chief Agricultural Meteorologist added.
Also, Mr Arigbagbu Suleiman, the representative of HEDA, explained that they were working with NiMet to produce accurate and timely weather information to users.
Suleiman said that the information would also help policy makers in planning in order to take prompt actions to ensure high productivity and avoid disaster.
He said that Nigeria was not food secured at the moment hence the need for government, farmers and other stakeholders to take action to ensure food security in the country.
Responding on behalf of the farmers at the workshop, Mr Joshua Jonathan, the National President of Small-Scale Agro Producers in Nigeria, expressed gratitude to NiMet and other partners for organising the workshop.
He said that in spite of the fact that NiMet was generating a lot of weather information to assist farmers; unfortunately, the information was hardly getting to them due to some barriers.
“Lack of these information has been affecting farmers; some will plant early, then the rain will stop for a long time and flood will destroy their farms,” he added.
Jonathan, therefore, said with the sensitisation from the workshop, he was optimism that they would look for a way to ensure that farmers access and use the information from NiMet in going forward.
The workshop which had in attendance farmers, extension workers, journalists, representatives of Nasarawa and Federal Ministries of Agriculture, featured question and answer session.
The farmers during the session suggested that NiMet should collaborate with mobile network providers so that they could be using their networks to be sending information on weather prediction to farmers directly through text messages. (NAN).