FCT Minister urges farmers, others to plan with NiMet rainfall data

By Cosmas Uzodinma

Minister of the Federal Capital Territory Malam Muhammad Musa Bello has called on farmers in the FCT and other parts of the country to leverage the 2019 seasonal rainfall prediction made available by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) in planning their farming activities for the year.

Bello who made the call in Abuja on Thursday, January 2019, during the unveiling of the 2019 Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP) by NiMet, said the call has become necessary to ensure that climate smart agricultural practices are promoted.

The FCT Minister also advised other institutions and communities to use the available professional data and information to improve their activities.

Bello who commended the Nigerian Meteorological Agency and the Ministry of Aviation for living up to the mandate of providing valuable meteorological information for aviation and non-aviation sectors of the country, said their activities are consistent with President Muhammadu Buhari’s agenda of improving the process of governance with available technology,

He assured that the FCT Administration will leverage effectively the available information in order to add value to governance, and guide the sizeable community of farmers in the FCT.

Unveiling the 2019 Seasonal Rainfall Prediction, the Minister of State Aviation, Senator Abubakar Hadi Sirika, said it is designed to provide relevant information for planning and execution of projects and programmes in various sectors of the economy like Agriculture, air transportation, infrastructure construction, telecommunication and water resources that are sensitive to weather.

The Minister said the early release of this vital information before the beginning of rainy season every year is to ensure effective harnessing of the climate resource and guarantee minimal losses from associated hazards which are becoming quite devastating in the era of climate change.

He noted that the agency has been able to successfully mitigate the effects of climate change in the country through early warning systems and other critical data provided it has been providing.

Giving further breakdown of the rainfall prediction, the Minister said the country is expected to experience below normal, to normal rainfall season, adding that the rains is expected to start late, especially in the northern parts of the country, while the south-eastern zone as well as the coastal areas will experience normal onset of the rains.

He noted that most of the Northern States will experience earlier than normal end growing season, in addition to more frequent dry spells during the rainy season in some parts of the extreme North around June and July. The rest of the country he added would also experience shorter growing seasons due to late onset of rains and early ending.

The Minister appreciated the partnership between the Agency and the FCTA including the provision of land housing the Agency which has helped to improve its activities.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Director General, NIMet, Prof. Sani Abubakar Mashi, said the Agency has been delivering on its mandate since it was set up in 2012, adding that its predictions have been consistently and accurately delivered over the period.

The DG noted that the predictions by NIMET are now being taken more seriously since the regrettable 2012 flood incident that was experienced in most parts of the country, which he said has encouraged the agency to do more  to improve on the accuracy of the predictions.  

Other highlights of the event were testimonies from very important stakeholders like the British American Tobacco as well as representatives of the Katsina and Kebbi State government among others, who explained how NiMet information have helped to improve agricultural and other economic activities in their regions.