Kasim Sumaina in Abuja
The federal government has cautioned farmers against early planting in 2021 farming season due to severe dry spell that is expected in many parts of the country.
The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, while speaking at the Annual Season Climate Prediction (SCP) for 2021 weather prediction, warned farmers that Nigeria will experience early rain, as early as 1st of March 2021.
He, however, said farmers should not be deceived by the rain as it would not be consistent, saying it would be followed by a long dry spell.
Sirika stated that, “a normal to above-normal annual rainfall amount is expected for most parts of the country.
“However, below-normal rainfall totals are expected over a few places in the North-western parts of the country such as Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara and Kano states.”
He added that, “Pre-Onset Rainfall (False Onset): 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.”
According to him, such rainfall events are not uncommon, but 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 added.
The minister further stressed that, “a severe dry spell is predicted over (Arewa Dandi, Birnin Kebbi, Argungu, Augie) Kebbi, (Illela, Gada, Tangaza, Gudu, Sabon Birni) Sokoto, (Shinkafi, Birnin Magaji, Maradun, Zurmi) Zamfara, (Kaita, Mashi, Mai’Adua, Katsina, Dutsi, Daura, Baure, Zango) Katsina, (Gwiwa, Yankwashi, Gumel, Birniwa, Sule-Tankarkar), and (Guri, Kiri Kasama) in Jigawa.
“(Machina, Nguru, Yusufari, Yunusari, Karasuwa, Barde, Jakusko, Geidam) Yobe and (Abadam, Mobbar, Kukawa, Guzamala, Gubio, Nganzai, Monguno) Borno state in the months of June and July which may last between 2-3 weeks after the Onset.”
He added: “The 2021 onset of the growing season is predicted to be normal to earlier than normal in most parts of the country. The earliest onset date is likely to occur on March 1st, 2021 along the coastal line of the country while the latest date is anticipated to be around 29th June in the northernmost parts of the country.
“However, later-than-normal onset dates are expected over a few places such as parts of Lagos, Ogun, Kebbi and Niger States.
“The 2021 length of the growing season is expected to span between 110 days in the extreme north and over 300 days in the south.”