The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) has signed a 4-year memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
The NIMET said that the growing concerns about the vulnerability of smallholder farmers to climate variability and change, prompted the latest effort to enhance the farmers’ adaptive capacity, adding that the primary objective of the MoU was to make meteorological services more beneficial to the farmers and the IAR is to drive the process in the northern part of the country with the possibilities that it would gain momentum and spread to other zones for maximum reach.
The director-general (DG) of the agency, Anthony Anuforom, who observed that weather information would ensure that farmers make informed decision to get the best from their investments and hard work, added that farmers depend on rain-fed agriculture in most of sub-Saharan Africa and over time they had adjusted their planting patterns and farming calendar to the onset, duration and end of the rainy seasons.
However, he pointed out that owing to the changing rainfall due to climate change, their planting patterns and farming calendar no longer match seasonal rainfall distributions which often lead to crop losses, hence the need to expose them to intensive training on various aspects of climate and weather patterns.
The DG explained that this latest programme had further strengthened and made relevant what the President Muhammadu-led government was saying about agriculture extension services.
“Part of what I have been saying is that the total agriculture extension basket must go beyond tractors and other farm implements and must now include knowledge.
“The signing of this MoU is the begining of NIMET’s products being able to be conveyed to the vulnerable smallholder farming community in Nigeria,” he said.