Food Security: FG, NIMET partner on seasonal climate prediction

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By Doris Esa

The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security and the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET), have taken steps to downscale weather and climate information to Nigerian farmers.

The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Sen. Abubakar Kyari, made this known at a joint news conference on seasonal climate prediction on Tuesday in Abuja.

Kyari said that downscaling such information would guide cropping and boost agricultural yield in the country.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the ministry and NIMET went into formal collaboration in March 2022, for NIMET to provide Seasonal Climate Prediction to farmers.

Kyari said that leveraging on accurate weather readings was vital to food security.

“There is no doubt in our minds that cascading climate information services to farmers in their localities will readily impact on their cultivation against the backdrop of unstable weather patterns.

“Seasonal Climate Prediction is crucial to the agriculture sector where weather forecasts can help inform farmers about upcoming weather conditions,” he said.

Kyari said further that the predictions would allow farmers to adjust planting schedules, optimise irrigation, and apply inputs more efficiently.

“It will, thereby, reduce resource waste while improving crop yields and productivity.

“There is little question, therefore, that NIMET’s Seasonal Rainfall Prediction can assist in shaping agriculture in Nigeria with regard to information about the pattern and duration of rainfall across the country’s agronomic zones,” he said.

Kyari added that this would help the farmers to know when to grow, the length of the growing season and dry spells that could occasion loss of agricultural investment, if remedial measures are not taken.

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”This in turn helps to boost the adaptive capacity of farmers,” he said.

The minister noted that there had been farming seasons in Nigeria when farmers did not take advantage of the institutional advice from NIMET.

Kyari said that such farmers on their own misread the rainfall pattern, only to face dry spells that invariably ruined their crops and livelihoods.

Also speaking, the Director-General, NIMET, Prof. Charles Anosike, said the event would further strengthen the relationship between NIMET and the ministry.

Anosike said that the issue of food security required consistent and deliberate efforts from all stakeholders not just to cooperate, but to empower and equip farmers.

He said that the agency on Feb. 20 predicted the manifestation of weather irregularities and temperature viability.

“We did say that the huge task that we have after the prediction is the dissemination and communication of this information to farmers, this is a huge challenge,” he said.

Anosike said that the ability to reach the over 70 million farmers in the country with the information to build their resilience was through partnership with the ministry of Agriculture.

“Like l said, farmers need to be equipped to make climate-informed decisions, food inflation is now beyond economic tools, climate change is driving food inflation,” he said. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

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Edited by Dorcas Jonah/Christiana Fadare

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