Nigerian Meteorological Agency, NiMet, yesterday released the 2016 Seasonal Rainfall Prediction, SRP, with a damning revelation that the nation would experience late on-set, early cessation and lower-thannormal rainfall. According to the SRP presented in Abuja by Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, dry spells during the rainy season would also be more frequent and severe in some parts of the North. However, notwithstanding the expected lower-thannormal rainfall prediction, the outlook did not rule out the possibility of isolated flash floods due to high intensity rainfall at the peak of the season, especially in naturally flood-prone places.
The theme of this year’s SRP is: ‘The Impact of Weather Variability and Climate Change on Transportation Infrastructure on Agriculture in Nigeria.’ NiMet Director General, Dr. Anthony Anuforom, stated that the SRP outlook presented risk factor for farmers in the affected areas, urging all concerned to develop strategies to scientifically manage it. However, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbe, insisted that the prediction would not affect food production, adding that the present administration has begun initiatives to diversify the nation’s agricultural base from rainfall reliance to irrigation farming. Speaking on the imperatives of the SRP, Anuforom noted that it is necessary because it provides the needed information for planning and execution of projects across sectors of the Nigerian economy.
Apart from its economic relevance, Anuforom also noted that weather and climate produced by NiMet are critical for combating climate change through adaptation and mitigation strategies. Ogbe who chaired one of the technical sessions during the event, spoke on some of the strategies being put in place by his ministry to cushion the effects of rainfall prediction on food production. According to him, the outlook is useful in that it would help to galvanise efforts towards revival and put to use some of the nation’s moribund dams. Apart from reviving the river basins, the minister promised canalisation of the nation’s dams with a view to providing irrigation services to boost crop production across the country.