By Olamide Tejuoso
The sound of rain, especially after months of dryness, is especially good news to any farmer. But do you know this can be bad news for any hasty planter who rushes to sew his seeds? Yes, the season every farmer longs for is gradually drawing near – Rainy season! It was near end of last month when many of my friends flooded their statuses with posts such as “First rain in Abeokuta”, “First rain in Ibadan”, “Lagos and rain o, e don start”, and so on. But as a friend of farmers, I had to ask around if it is early raining season this time or just some miracle of a New Year. But alas, one of them firmly said; “it is not the rain for farming”. Is there a rain for farming? This is one of the basic things you should know too, even as a consumer.
Now, did you know this warning comes almost every time, year after year? Dear farmer, kindly don’t throw caution to the winds. The journey is still far; well not so far, if you are indeed patient. The truth is, not all crops can survive the heat of the season, if you do not have solid irrigation plans in place. Experienced farmers, when interacted with submitted that the onset of the rain is usually not enough to start planting, and anyone, who hastens to plant will likely have his crops roasted. Hence, it is merely a sign preluding how farmers must start return to their fields for clearing and preparations. Of course, news had it that in rained in your area or even the next.
Well congratulations, but the dry season is not over yet, it’s just passing. Tell a farmer to tell a farmer! This particular rain that had been falling in many areas is what is termed “Onset”, which marks the beginning of the lifespan of the duration of rain in a season, annually.
This is not even the tip of the iceberg; it is more like ovulation for a matured lady getting ready for her monthly flow. More like, the rain is announcing its big coming. You might then want to ask? So then, what’s this rain for? Although, there is a common belief in the South-Western part of the state that the first rain is for the popular fruit, Agbalumo (African star apple), the onset is a usual occurrence, which naturally signals farmers to begin preparatory work on their farms.
According to the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NiMET), raining season fully starts in April and May in the central states and peaks in October, every year. However, rain does not really begin in the Northern states until June to July. However, NiMET reports that prediction shows that the earliest rains will likely occur in March 2023 in the coastal zones of south-south states of Bayelsa, Akwa-Ibom, and Rivers, while early rainfall cessation is predicted over parts of the south, especially in Osun, Ondo, Edo, Delta, Imo, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, and eastern parts of Ogun and Lagos and parts of Yobe, Adamawa, Niger, Nasarawa and Kogi.
How about this; we utilise these information as farmers, to start figuring out our farming calendars, as we peruse these predictions. Statistics from NiMET further suggest that rain will stop early in some parts of the state, ranging from 84 to 283 days of growing season. By implication, the raining season must be effectively utilised by farmers as dry spell is predicted to occur between June and early July, this year. On a final note, I beseech you, therefore, farmer that although rain is coming, it’s the time to gird up your loins and make your house (workers) ready, so that you can make the best out of the incoming season. Cheers, to a season of greater yields!