By Gift Samuel, The Sight News
The Nigerian Meteorological Agency, NiMet, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the International Fund for Agricultural Development on Climate Change Adaptation and Agri-Business Support Programme, IFAD-CASP.
This is aimed at improving yields, mitigating the vagaries associated with climate change, as well as reducing the risk of crop failure.
The Director-General/CEO, NiMet,Professor Sani Abubakar Mashi, however disclosed that, “The key components of the MoU include:Prediction of rainfall establishment, rainfall variability, dry spells and length of raining season for sustainable agriculture;
“Installations of NiMet Applications to CASP smart phones for real-time climate and weather information in the designated programme areas; Development of crop calendars in line with the value chain crops adopted by the selected communities
“Training of Extension Workers, Climate Change Officers and Community development associations in the analysis and interpretation of the Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP) in selected CASP States” he said.
He also stated that the programmes of IFAD are in tandem with NiMet’s core mandate, which are geared towards poverty reduction, increase in food security and accelerated economic growth on a sustainable basis.
The collaboration between NiMet and IFAD which has a renewable life span of 4 years, is designed with the objective of improving crop yields and farming systems through adaptation to climate change in core northern savannah states adjudged to be most vulnerable to the effects of climate change (Katsina, Borno, Sokoto, Yobe, Kebbi, Zamfara and Jigawa).
These states are to benefit from the IFAD/NiMet symbiotic relationship which, would reduce the losses incurred by farmers in the states over the years as a result of climate change and weather uncertainties.
Re-echoing the features of the MoU, the National Programme Coordinator, CASP, Muhammad Lawal Idah, added that the synergy between the two organisations across the aforementioned northern states would be downscaled to cover 104 local government areas and 727 villages.
Idah stressed that this will provide climate change adaptation and resilience information to the farmers that would help them manage and coordinate their farming practice, adding that the programme also aims to promote climate smart agricultural production as earlier stated by the DG NiMet.
The IFAD Programme Coordinator, together with his team members, showered encomiums on NiMet for the recent training of their field Climate Change officers and Extension Agents who can now confidently predict rainfall through the help of the rain gauges presented to them by NiMet.
An action plan is to be developed to periodically assess the level of impact the collaboration between the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, NiMet and the International Fund for Agricultural Development IFAD has had on farmers of the targeted 7 northern states.