The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMET) Seasonal Climate Predictions (SCP), uncovering valuable information that demands the attention of stakeholders in the agriculture sector to mark the beginning of the 2024 seasonal predictions, as the agency put plans in place to develop an SCP for the year 2024. This analysis particularly focuses on the profound implications the forecast carries for the agricultural landscape, emphasising adaptation measures and strategic planning for both crop and livestock production in the previous year.
Last year’s predictions suggested a diverse onset of the growing season, ranging from early to normal across most regions of Nigeria. However, certain areas, including northern Borno, Bauchi, Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, Zamfara, and Yobe, as well as Abia, Imo, River, Cross-River, and Lagos states in the south, may experience delayed onset. Notably, the forecast anticipates below-normal rainfall amounts in specific northern regions, potentially leading to water stress. Farmers in these areas are advised to implement various adaptation measures, such as soil moisture preservation, effective weed control, and the promotion of soil health. Additionally, the use of supplementary irrigation, small-scale water harvesting systems, and the selection of drought-resistant crop varieties are recommended strategies to mitigate the impact of water scarcity.
For poultry farmers, the 2023 prediction indicates above-normal daytime temperatures in January, March, April, and May. This deviation from the thirty-year average (1991-2020), poses challenges to livestock health and economic stability. Recommendations include vigilant ventilation of poultry pens, rehydration practices, and careful management to mitigate the stress induced by high temperatures. Sanitisation of poultry pens during the rainy season, to prevent the breeding of pathogens. Additionally, pelleted forms of feed are suggested to enhance intake, and dry conditions are emphasised to curb the proliferation of bacteria and fungi. Similarly, ruminant farmers are urged to adopt proactive measures during the wet and cold seasons. Regular deworming, pest control, and antibiotics for dairy cows are crucial to safeguarding livestock health.
Storage of animal feeds in clean and dry places during the rainy season is highlighted as a preventive measure against mould formation. The advisories underscored the importance of strategic planning, early mobilisation of resources, and synchronisation of activities with the predicted climate patterns. Conclusively, the 2023 Seasonal Climate Predictions by NiMET serve as a valuable tool for informed decision-making in the agriculture sector. Therefore, heeding the recommended adaptation measures that would be made base on this for 2024, farmers and relevant authorities can navigate the challenges posed by varied onset and rainfall patterns by ensuring the resilience and sustainability of agriculture in the face of dynamic climatic conditions.