Rainfall deficit threatens food security in 2019 –NiMet

Nigeria will witness an early cessation of rainfall this year and this will pose a threat to food production and security across the country, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency declared on Thursday.

According to NiMet in its 2019 Seasonal Rainfall Prediction, the greater part of Nigeria will witness early cessation of rain this year, especially areas with high agricultural activities in the North.

In the 2019 SRP, a copy of which was obtained by our correspondent in Abuja, the agency stated that rainfall deficit with varying magnitude was expected for the most part of Nigeria, especially northward.

The agency’s Director-General, Prof. Sani Mashi, said Nigerians should expect below-normal rainfall in 2019, adding that this posed a threat to food security.

“In general, if you look at the signs, it means greater part of the country is going to witness early cessation of rainfall, particularly areas that are very known for agricultural activities in the country and this is a threat to food security and an issue of concern,” Mashi said.

In the SRP document, NiMet stated that the below- normal rainfall for 2019 is expected to have an impact on the timing of the onset and cessation of the growing season.

It said a shorter length of the season was expected with below-normal rainfall amounts and stressed that climate-smart agriculture should be the watchword.

NiMet stated that the predicted 2019 onset of the growing season was likely to be delayed in most parts of the country as a result of what the agency called the El Niño signal.

It said the earliest onset date was predicted to be from March 7, 2019, around the coastal region of the South-South, adding that the onset dates were  expected to change in the northern region, with areas around Maiduguri, Sokoto, Katsina, Dutse, Potiskum, Kano and Nguru predicted to have onset from June 16.

“The country is expected to experience late onset in most parts, but this delay is likely to be more evident in the northern states. However, normal onset is expected over coastal and some South-East states,” the agency said.

It said the earliest rainfall cessation dates were expected to be from September 29 around the north-western parts of the country, adding that most of the North were expected to witness cessation dates within October.
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