The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) is deploying additional rain gauges across the country to aid its localized weather forecast for rural farmers.
As part of the programme to increase the rain gauge density across the country, NiMet is partnering with the International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), an India-based company.
The director-general of NiMet, Mansur Matazu who spoke at the partnership meeting held in Abuja said the additional rain gauges would help in the precision weather forecasts as it relates to rain-fall and help farmers optimise the growing season.
Flashes of flood and longer dry spells are predicted for 2021, and NiMet hopes to leverage the rain guages to mitigate the impact.
“This is coming at a critical time at the beginning of the growing season and we are trying to increase the density of our stations and increase the precision of our forecasts,” Matazu said.
Prof. Matazu also said that because most the users of rainfall forecast are from rural communities, they require localised forecasts.
“The new rain gauges will be complemented with the existing ones. Of course the communities where these new rain gauges, about 200 of them, will be installed will be involved in their maintenance,” he stated further.
“It will increase the total data we generate; it will lead to more precision forecasts and will facilitate community engagement in weather and climate. Climate change is here with us and we want our forecast to lead to improved productivity,” the NiMet DG explained further.
He said the rain gauges will be installed in collaboration with INCRISAT.
Pierre C Sibriry Traore, the principal in-business researcher (digital agriculture) West and Central Africa Regional said $50 devices will “help reduce the cost of climatic and weather information collection.”
“In Africa we live in a tropical climate and rainfall varies very rapidly over space. And NiMet is looking forward to expanding its observation network hence we think it is a critical instrument to generate data” he stated.
“The equipment is flexible, cheap, and easy to replace. We even call it a recyclable IoT rain gauge with the idea that it can be recycled,” he noted.