Friday, May 3, 2019 5:29 pm
The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has advised farmers in the northern part of the country to exercise restraint in planting crops with the current rainfalls across the region.
Dr Mansur Matazu, Technical Assistant to the Director General of NiMet, gave the advice in Abuja on Friday in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria.
Matazu said that the central and extreme northern parts of the country were yet to experience onset of the rainy season based on NiMet’s 2019 Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP).
He added that the current rains being experienced around the region were known as transition period activities leading to the onset of planting season.
According to him, the rains will get established in this zone around the first and second week of May to first and second week of June.
‘‘The rains we are experiencing now are what we describe as transition period activities because between dry season and rainy season we have a transition.
‘‘This transition is associated with some occasional rains and these rains are meant for farmers to get prepared in terms of their planting activities; that is getting the land cleared, getting the inputs such as seeds and fertiliser ready.
‘‘It is not advisable especially in the northern parts of the country; north central, northwest and northeast to get into real planting now.
‘‘Our seasonal rainfall prediction explained in details and we have covered all parts of the local governments in the country, the 744; and in the forecast we have indicated when the rain will get well established.
‘‘So these earlier rains are not meant for farming but this is an indication that rain will soon commence and farmers need to get ready in getting their lands cleared and be in full preparations,’’ he said.
Matazu also advised the government and people of the southern part of the country to take precaution towards preventing floods associated with early intense rains around the region.
He said that the agency’s Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP), released in January had indicated that there would be below-normal rainfall across the country including parts of the southern states.
According to him, some southern parts also will have some below normal rainfall even though the rainfall has fully commenced in the southern part and farming activities are already taking place.
‘‘In our forecast document, we have indicated that even though some places will be experiencing below normal rainfall that flash floods are not exempted within the season.
‘‘So we are going to experience high intensity rains as it is associated with onset and cessation periods.
‘‘This generates a lot of water which gets cities and communities flooded within a short period of time.
‘‘This we have seen in parts of the south and we will be experiencing this in parts of the north in coming weeks.
‘‘In addition to this also, the peak of the season between August and September, we will experience what we called the riverine flooding.
‘‘So we are going to experience floods associated with riverine areas that is what we normally called over-bank full flow.
‘‘That is why we are advising that people should use our forecast in addition to the flood outlook issued by Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) so that we guard against damages being caused by floods in the country,’’ he said.