NiMet warns farmers on early planting

Barring any acute climatic change events, this year rainy season will last four months in the far northern states of Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Katsina, Jigawa, Yobe and Borno.

This is even as NiMet warned the farmers, especially in the far north not to plant with early rains.

The rainy season is expected to set as from 2nd June 2020 and last up until 26th September 2020, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) seasonal rainfall prediction (SRP) 2020 has shown.

The 2020 SRP was launched on Wednesday in Abuja by the Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika.

The minister said at the launch that, based on the NiMet predictions, the onset (planting period) of the “2020 growing season is expected to be ‘near-normal to earlier than normal in most parts of the country’ with the earliest onset date likely to occur on the 24th of February around the coastal zone of the south-south states while states like Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Katsina, Jigawa, Yobe and Borno are predicted to likely have their onset from 2nd June, 2020.”

On cessation he said the predictions indicated that a “normal to later than normal cessation is expected across the country. The earliest cessation date, 26th September 2020 is expected around Katsina and the northern parts of Sokoto while the latest cessation date is expected on the 28th December, 2020 over the Niger-Delta region.”

On length of growing season he said; “a normal to longer than normal length of season is generally predicted across the country. In the year 2020, the length of growing season is expected to span 110-160 days in the Sahelian region of the north and 210-280 days in the south.”

The SRP also show a “normal to above normal rainfall is expected generally in the country. It is expected that total rainfall amounts will range from 400mm in the north to about 3000mm in the south” Sen. Hadi Sirika explained.

He also said the SRP also show false onset of rain, but he quickly warned farmers nit to plan with the early false rain.

“Before the full establishment of the onset of the planting season over the various ecological zones, a couple of rainfall events are expected to occur which could be enormous and tend to give a false start of the season. Such rainfall events are not uncommon, however, their frequency seems to be on the rise. Some forcing functions have been observed to be likely responsible and will be monitored carefully and keep Nigerians informed. Farmers should therefore avoid early planting during this period to avoid losses” he said.

On dry spells he said that “a severe dry spell that may last up to 10 to 21 days is expected in areas such as Niger, Bauchi, Jigawa, Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina, Kano, Kebbi, Yobe and Borno in the months of June and July which may last between 2-3 weeks after the Onset. Farmers should moisture conservation techniques to avoid crop losses during this period.”

On floods, the minister said flash floods might still happen based on the prediction. “The normal to near normal rainfall pattern in the country does not rule out the possibility of isolated flash floods due to increasing high intensity rainfall at the peak of the season, especially in areas that are naturally prone to flooding.”

While presenting the highlights, the Director-General, NiMet Prof. Sani Abubakar Mashi warned of possible outbreak of diseases in in extreme cases. “Temperatures from January to April (night and day) on the other hand. are expected to be warmer than normal in the north, extending down to parts of the central axis. This situation is expected to have a great impact on health.

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