NiMet PARTNERS FARMERS TO GIVE REAL TIME SPECIFIC WEATHER FORECAST
The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) is to partner with the Farmers Empowerment Association of Abuja to give sector-specific services aimed at reducing agricultural risk in the Federal Capital Territory by more than 30 percent.
This was disclosed by the Director General/CEO of NiMet, Prof. Sani Abubakar Mashi who was represented by his Technical Adviser, Dr. Matazu Bako, while welcoming members of the association who were on a courtesy visit to NiMet.
According to the DG, agriculture is one of the principal sectors to which NiMet provides daily, medium and long term forecasts and services. He disclosed that NIMet has about 54 weather stations spread across the country and that the agency is working to increase the number of these weather stations to 1500 by the end of the year. The weather stations will help increase NiMet’s precision in forecasts, especially in point forecast like agriculture, noting that the objective is to provide continuous weather and climate advisories.
Prof. Mashi described the association as unique and commended it for its initiative in promoting agriculture in line with the agenda of the present administration. He stated that agriculture is now the main focus in the Nigerian economy and that since there is now a shift from subsistence agriculture to commercial farming, especially for food security and for exportation, this objective cannot be achieved without adopting climate smart agriculture, which will boost farmers’ yield.
On collaboration with the farmers, he posited that “Globally it has been established that if climate information is adopted in farm operations, you stand to reduce risk by more than 30 percent and your yield will increase by about 25 – 40 percent. Based on this, we have engaged in different collaborations across the country. We have so far covered about 27 states in the country”.
Prof. Mashi however, added that the forecast is time bound and that, “we need collaborations like yours, so that we can reach these farmers as we cannot cover all the country at the same time but through collaboration. When you get the information, you relay it “, he said.
In his remarks, the President of the Farmers Empowerment Association Mr. Obaje Omobolaji David appreciated the Director-General and management of the agency, stating that his association relies on documents received from the agency for proper planning.
“The agency has been the back bone of our association; we rely on the documents coming from the agency. The Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP) has been our hand booklet that enables us to plan. One of our major success tools has been the NiMet booklet”, he said.
He also commended NiMet for the prompt response to the needs of the organization. “Sometime back, we wrote to the Agency requesting for the SRP booklets and they were given to us immediately without any hesitation or hindrance”, he disclosed.
Mr. Obale then requested for more opportunities to standardize their farming to meet with the yearning of the current administration.
In the same vein, he appealed for NiMet’s support to meet the Central Bank of Nigeria’s requirement of weather information in his association’s plan to cultivate soya beans in the current farming season.