The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has warned farmers in the north, especially those of the North-Central zone of the country and particularly Nassarawa, Niger, Benue, Abuja and neighbouring state like Kaduna to avoid planting early with the false onset of rains.
NiMet advised farmers planning to plant following two or three times rain, that they risk losing their seedlings and crops to drought.
According to the Director-General/CEO, NiMet, Professor Mansur Bako Matazu, the recent rainfall recorded in the central states as well as Kaduna in the North-West, between March 12 and March 20, 2021, is a “false onset as captured accurately in the 2021 Seasonal Climate Prediction (SCP)”.
“The recorded rainfall is as a result of the forcing functions namely: Mid-latitude wave and the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) that led to the Northward pull of the inter-tropical discontinuity (ITD) and increased moisture into the country,” he said.
Professor Matazu added that, the above, coupled with the abundant energy in the atmosphere, resulted in the recent rainfall events in and around Kaduna, Nassarawa, Niger, Benue and the Federal Capital Territory.
He explained that the onset of the rains in the South-South has been established as predicted in the 2021 SCP, that is, first of March to 20th March. The forecast for the South-West and South-Eastern part of the country are gradually being established in line with the predicted date of 13th March to 25th April.
In spite of the above advice, the agency however, recommended that other preparatory planting activities such as clearing, purchase of inputs by farmers should commence as scheduled.
However, he said the earlier predicted onset of rains for the rest of the country remains valid, with the Central states witnessing the rains from late April to Mid-May while the Northern states would experience theirs from late May to June ending.
He said in line with its statutory mandate, NiMet will continue to issue update as the need arises.