FARMERS

Nigerian farmers have been advised not to be deceived by the early rainfall in the Savannah region to rush into agricultural activities.

The national coordinator of Zero Hunger Farmers Association, Tunde Arosanyin, gave the advice on Wednesday in an interview with newsmen.

Arosayin, who is also the national technical adviser to the All Farmers Association Nigeria (AFAN) was speaking against the backdrop of early rainfalls in parts of Nigeria.

Newsmen reported that residents of Port Harcourt experienced the first rain in the year with a heavy downpour and cloudy weather Wednesday morning.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) also reported that the residents had expected the rain last week when they experienced partly cloudy weather.

It also rained in Lagos on Wednesday. The rain lasted for about one and a half hours, causing heavy flash floods and traffic gridlock in some areas, especially in the Surulere axis.

In Calabar where there was also a downpour, many residents heaved a sigh of relief due to the harsh weather they experienced since the yuletide seasons.

The Cross River State capital witnessed its first rain of 2019 which fell steadily for almost two hours.

Some parts of Ilorin metropolis also recorded the first rain of the year. It was reported that the rain, which lasted less than one hour, brought relief to residents, who had been under hot weather condition for months. The rains started when several residents were still asleep.

Arosanyin said most farmers rush to the farm at the sight of the early rains but end up disappointed as the rains will cease.

“Most rainfall from the Savannah, middle belt and rain forest is very deceptive,” he said.

“Most farmers when they record one or two rains, they rush to their farms. When it ceases, the crops are less which is a loss to the economy,” he added.

“I advise farmers not to run to their farms because there is no sufficient moisture content in the soil that can support plant growth,” he said.

He said no agency has released the pattern of rainfall for the year 2019. He said farmers were using their cumulative experience of the last 10 years to avoid any rush in serious crop production.

The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) had predicted lower-than-normal rainfall over most parts of Nigeria in 2019 with an expected late start of rains in the north.

The agency also said the south-eastern zone and the coastal areas would experience the normal onset of rains.

Presenting NiMet’s 2019 Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP), the Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said most of the northern states would experience earlier than normal end growing season.

According to the minister, these are risk factors for farmers in the affected areas and have to be carefully and scientifically managed

“Some farmers will get excited about the rain while some will panic and rush to the farm,” Mr Arosanyin said.

“In the last three years, farmers who did not listen to our warnings had poor harvest at the end of the year,” he added.

He said the level of improvement in agricultural production depends on the support of the government.

He lamented that the level of support from the government is currently poor.

“The standard factor in agriculture production is 500 farmers ratio to one tractor. But in Nigeria, it is 3000 farmers to one tractor, ” he said.

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