The Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) on Wednesday decried the information gap existing between States Agricultural Development Authorities and the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMET).
Malam Garba Ibrahim, Lead Facilitator, HEDA, conveyed the group’s criticism in Bida during a one-day sensitisation seminar organised for 50 farmers drawn from nine local government areas (LGAs) in Niger State.
Ibrahim said that the information gap between states agricultural development authorities and the NiMET had resulted in under-utilisation of climate information by farmers and other stakeholders across the country.
“There is currently a gap between states agriculture development authorities and NiMET, which has resulted in under-utilisation of climate information services from the agency in policies, planning and programmes.
“Timely reliable and useful climate information as well as early warning are critical to agricultural production and livelihood protection for farmers in Niger State and Nigeria in general.
“Using the annual seasonal rainfall prediction produced by NiMET will help mitigate a lot of problems arising from the difficulties in planning because of weather nuances,” he said.
Ibrahim quoted NiMET prediction for Niger State this year, saying that rain would cease in parts of the state in November.
He said that the local government areas which would have rains in the state till November 7 would be Katcha Agaie and Lapai LGAs.
He said that the growing season in the state would end in October in Rijau, Mariga Agwara, Borgu and Kontagora LGAs.
Ibrahim added that Sutleja, Lapai Bida and Lavun LGAs were expected to have the longest rainfall period in the state, covering 170 days, this year.
He said that the total volume of rainfall for the state this year would range from 880 millimetres to 1,350 millimetres in the southern part of the state.
The facilitator said that owing to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the need to respect the guidelines set out by the Presidential Task Force (PTF), particularly those relating to social and physical distancing; the number of the seminar participants was reduced to only 50.
He, nonetheless, urged those who attended the workshop to share the knowledge they acquired with other farmers in their localities.
Speaking on behalf of the farmers, Mr Adams Garba, who commended the organisers, said that the programme had improved their knowledge and would impact positively on their farming activities.
The seminar was jointly organised by HEDA, NiMET and the Community Action for Food Security Initiative to enlighten the farmers on how to effectively use NiMET predictions to improve their agricultural production.