The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMET) has blamed the huge losses of agricultural produce to the non-utilisation of climate information by farmers.
NiMET insisted that utilisation of climate information by farmers is key to achieving food security in Nigeria.
The agency, therefore, appealed to farmers to take advantage of its weather prediction information to plan their farming activities and crop planting calendar to mitigate against losses of agricultural produce.
The Head of the Climate Services unit of NiMET, Adeleke Oyegade, gave the advice at a one-day mid-season interaction workshop for agriculture stakeholders in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
The workshop was organised by HEDA in conjunction with Oxfam, the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), African Activists for Climate Justice (AACJ) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Netherlands, to sensitize farmers on the importance of utilizing climate information to boost productivity.
Oyegade called for collaborations between NiMET, farmers and other stakeholders in ensuring that farmers get accurate and reliable climate information to help them prevent losses of their produce due to harsh weather conditions.
“As an agency commissioned by government to provide climate information and to make sure that the information reaches as many people as possible, what NiMET does is that every year this information is provided for the whole country and down scale it for all the states of the federation.
“It is important that farmers have timely and correct weather information to help them plan their activities because this will mitigate against huge losses they record yearly as a result of unfavorable weather conditions.
“Farmers must consider weather information before going into their farming activities. It is painful that so much efforts are being put into the production of climate information for farmers to plan their activities, but they are not making use of the information.
“Farmers must use climate information as much as possible, it is very important, climate is changing and we cannot afford to continue to do things the way we used to do them,” Oyegade said.
The programme officer of HEDA, Shiro Olawale Oreoluwa, said lack of adequate climate information threatened food production, hence, the need to improve farmers’ access to climate information service.
“A lot of farmers are losing their livelihood because some of them do not have climate information delivered to them.
“Farmers must know the right time to plant, the right time to apply herbicides and pesticides and the right time to harvest and climate information will help them in doing this,” Shiro said.