NiMet urges Govt. to encourage rainwater harvesting to support farming
The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has advised government at all levels to encourage rainwater harvesting during the rainy season to enable its availability during the dry season to support farming.
NiMet, in its 2017 Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP), in Abuja, advised government, farmers and agriculturalists to note early cessation of rains in the northern part of the country and pockets of south.
The agency noted that expected below normal rainfall will pose challenge to enhanced food production, and the Federal Government policy on agriculture and food security.
It, however, stated that the crisis might be compensated by projected up to 10 per cent additional rains over large parts of the savannas, the cereals producing areas of the country.
According to NiMet, this means that harvested produce will arrive in the market early in 2017.
“Government should therefore take these predictions very serious to enable it meet its projections in the current policy of achieving self-sufficiency in basic food supply and attainment of food security.
“The predicted shorter length of growing season will also pose a challenge for farmers who desire to cultivate crops such as maize and other cereals twice during the season.
“We, therefore, advise that rainwater harvesting should be encouraged during the rainy season to enable its availability during the dry season and support farming later in the years,’’ NiMet advised.
The agency also predicted that food production is expected to be less than normal due to shorter growing season length over large parts of the country in 2017.
The agency also predicted that the warmer-than-normal conditions in the north from January to April might lead to water stress and outbreak of heat-related diseases among livestock.
It added that herders might be able to take to grazing in the northern part of the country with availability of feed for longer time due to higher than normal rains.
According to NiMet, fish production is expected to be boosted in 2017.
“However, aqua culturists should take precaution in areas known for high run off especially during the peak of the rainy season to avoid losses due to wash off of ponds,’’ it said.