The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (Nimet) has predicted that the country would experience below normal- to- normal rainfall in its 2019 Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP).
The SRP forecast indicates that, the rains are expected to start late especially in the northern parts of the country while the south-eastern zone as well as the coastal areas will experience normal onset of the rains.
While most of the Northern States will experience earlier than normal end growing season, shorter length of the growing season is predicted for most parts of the country.
The Director General (Nimet), Abubakar Mashi, in his public presentation of the 2019 Seasonal Rainfall Predictions (SRP)forecast on Thursday in Abuja revealed that, dry spells during the rainy season will be more frequent and severe within 10-18 days in some parts of the extreme North around June and July, while the ‘Little Dry Season’ or (August break) in parts of the South is expected to be pronounced.
Marshi said,”And as such,puts the country’s food security under threat due to the dry spell to be experienced in most agricultural producing states.”
“These are risk factors for farmers in the affected areas and has to be carefully and scientifically managed. It is necessary to state that the expected below normal- normal rainfall in 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 also important to note that in every season, dry spells occur and in certain cases, it leads to crop losses.
“In this regard,I wish to urge our farmers and other stakeholders to get in touch with Nimet to access Meteorological advisories and updates within the growing season,” he said.
In the same vein,the Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, while presenting the 2019,Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP), said the early release of relevant information before the beginning of rainy season will help in minimizing losses associated with climate change.
“Agriculture and Food security are closely linked to weather and climate conditions as productivity depends on their interplay. This is because adverse weather and climate conditions directly affect agricultural productivity, livelihoods, water security, land use, agricultural marketing systems, market instability, food prices, trade and economic policies and small holder farmers, livestock herders and forest dependent communities are often highly vulnerable to these impacts”.
“It is imperative to note that the early release of this vital information before the beginning of rainy season every year is not only to ensure effective harnessing of the climate resource, but to also guarantee minimal losses from associated hazards,which are becoming quite devastating in this era of climate change”.
“It is on records that increase of at least 30% agricultural yields can be achieved if the relevant meteorological information is utilized”.
“It is against the foregoing challenging background, that, Nigerian Meteorological Agency (Nimet) embarks on regular weather and climate predictions to help the public mitigate the effects of extreme weather events through Early Warning Systems (EWSs),” Sirika said.