By Omolola Pedro
The Human and Environmental Development Agency (HEDA) and the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NiMet) in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), have organised a day seminar for Oyo State farmers on seasonal climate prediction in a bid to sustain food production across the country, FarmingFarmersFarms reports.
Addressing newsmen at the sensitisation programme tagged, “Downscale of the 2023 Seasonal Climate Prediction (SCP)”, the Executive Secretary of HEDA Resource Centre, Mr. Suliman Arigbabu, disclosed that the training was aimed at enlightening the people on climate prediction including food security and sustainable development.
He noted that within the available resources, Oyo State had the capacity to provide food for Nigerians, but the state is yet to have a 20% output of its production capacity.
He said, “Oyo State is one of the powerful states when it comes to agriculture in Nigeria. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been producing up to 20% of its capacity. The state alone can feed all Nigerians. So, until we get to that stage, we won’t rest”.
The environmental activist urged the government, at all levels, to invest more in the agency that provides meteorological advisories, saying that lack of adequate funding and absence of enough weather stations and manpower had been the major reasons their predictions had not been as accurate, as expected.
While urging the Oyo State Government to invest more in agricultural extension workers in the rural areas, as he cautioned farmers to consult climate advisories before beginning farm cultivation.
“The Oyo State Government has to invest in agricultural extension. Private sectors invest in extension workers, train and support them in local and rural areas. Farmers should take climate advisories before they go into farm cultivation”, he said.
The Oyo State Coordinator of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Kakulu Florence, in her remarks said, the ministry signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with NiMet to downscale yearly weather predictions to farmers in the nation, noting that Oyo was one of the pilot states that is benefiting from the programme.
She, however, emphasised the need for participants to downscale the training at their various locations for the benefit of farmers, who were not present at the training in order to encourage smart climate agriculture.
Commending the government on the initiative, the secretary of Oyo State farmers, Mr. Adewumi Abass, explained that the innovation had always helped them have a clue on when rain was going to commence and cease for every season, saying that it had allowed them also prepare for farming activities every season.