WHAT TO PLANT

The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) yesterday in Abuja hinted that the earliest onset of the planting season (beginning of planting activities) is expected by February 28, 2022, in the coastal parts of the country.

It disclosed that the onset of rainfall is expected to occur between April and May in the central states, and eventually within June and July in the northern states, adding that the onset of the planting season is predicted to be normal over most parts of Nigeria with a few areas having it earlier while some areas having it delayed.

The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, while presenting NiMet Seasonal Climate Prediction (SCP) for 2022, noted that Nigeria cannot shy away from climate change and climate variability which have caused untold hardship to people.

Sirika, in his keynote address at the public presentation of the 2022 SCP, said: “It is amazing how assiduously NiMet continues to bring us weather and climatological forecasts touching on different areas of our socio-economic lives in accordance with its mandate.

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“Daily, we are reminded of how interdependent and related these facets of our lives are. However, we must all rise to take up their forecast and respond with appropriate actions for resilience, adaptation and mitigation.”

The Aviation Minister stated that the theme: ‘Strengthening Climate Actions through Timely and Impact-based Climate Prediction for Economic Recovery’, is apt and should be fully supported.

He, however, revealed the following highlights of the 2022 SRP: “Rainfall cessation dates across most parts of the country in 2022 is predicted to be near the long-term average conditions. The window between the onset and cessation dates can be regarded as safe periods for the planting of various crops in accordance with their cropping calendars.

“The growing season is predicted to last between 250 and 300 days in southern parts of the country, and 100 to 200 days in the North. Noteworthy are areas around Kwara, Oyo, Lagos, Nasarawa, Benue, Bayelsa, and Rivers States which are likely to experience shorter than normal length of growing season. However, prolonged length of growing season is anticipated in parts of Plateau, Kaduna, Edo, and Imo States.”

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Continuing, he said: “For the annual total rainfall, the prediction indicates that the annual rainfall amount is expected to be normal in most parts of the country. The annual rainfall amount is expected to range from 390 mm in the North to over 2790 mm in the South.

“Annual rainfall amount ranging from 390 mm to 790 mm is anticipated in some parts of Borno, Yobe, Jigawa, Katsina and Sokoto States. The central states such as Nasarawa, Taraba, Kogi, Benue and the FCT, as well as Ekiti, Osun and Oyo are anticipated to record 1190 mm to 1590 mm of total rainfall.”

Sirika also revealed that from May to August 2022, dry spells of different degrees of severity ranging from mild to severe are predicted for different parts of the country. Moderate dry spell persisting for up to 15 days is predicted over parts of Adamawa, Benue, Kogi, Ekiti, Kwara, Niger, FCT, Kaduna, Sokoto, Kebbi and Gombe. Parts of Kebbi, Katsina, Jigawa, Yobe, Borno, Nasarawa and Plateau States, and may experience a severe dry spell that could persist for up to 20 days or longer in June 2022.”

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Earlier in his speech, the Director-General, NiMet, Prof. Mansur Matazu, said the SCP which is “multi-sectoral and co-produced socio-economic implications of the prediction by NiMet and relevant stakeholders.”

He further described it as a veritable tool to notify relevant stakeholders and emergency managers of the anticipated rainfall pattern within the season for necessary mitigation plans.

Stakeholders from the event, which was attended by ministers, CEOs of various government parastatals as well as the academia, commended NiMet for the timely release of the predictions, as this would guide farmers as to suitable time of commencement of the farming season.

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