The Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), Ahmadu Bello Bello University (ABU), Zaria, has recommended late parts of May and early June as the best period for cereals planting in moist savannah parts of Nigeria.
Prof. Mohammed Faguji, the Executive Director, IAR, announced this during an interaction with newsmen on NIMET weather prediction for 2023 in Zaria on Tuesday.
According to him, the moist savannah part of the country lies along the southern part of Katsina, Zamfara, and Kaduna States, and goes towards the Federal Capital Territory.
Faguji said planting of legumes such as groundnut and soya beans should follow almost immediately after planting the cereals; stressing that cowpea planting should start around July 22.
He, however, added that cowpea should be planted in the early parts of July in places like Kano, Jigawa, and the northern part of Bauchi States.
Faguji described the NIMET’s prediction on the normal secession of the rainfall as `a good news’ because the rainy season would cease at the time we are used to.
“For example, the southern guinea savanna, such as the southern part of Kaduna state, rainfall ceases between Oct. 5 and 10; while in the drier part of the country rain ceases around Sept. 30
“The above picture will persist during this year’s wet season farming except for Jigawa, Kano and Katsina States where it was predicted that the rain will cease earlier than normal,’’ he said.
The executive director advised the state offices of Agricultural Development Projects (ADPs) on the need to sensitise farmers on planting early maturing seed varieties.
He further advised the farmers to start looking for these varieties that are early maturing to feat for the early cessation of rainfall.
Faguji said the prediction from NIMET also indicated that there would be sporadic dry spells which do not follow any pattern except for Jigawa, Kano and Katsina states where the rain will completely cease.
He restated the commitment of the institute to double its efforts towards developing drought tolerant seed varieties; adding that the institute has developed maize and sorghum seed varieties that would withstand the period of dry spell.
He said the institute had already communicated to its stakeholders the characteristics of its different early maturing seed varieties and drought tolerant seed it developed.
He added that it was only good for them to put in an early request for the purchase of these seeds to enable them to prepare early.
On the flood predicted by NIMET, the executive director said it was predicted to occur at the same location and period (August and September) as predicted for the year 2022.
He said the only advice around this was that all low line places should be planted with those crops that withstand high precipitation like rice and cotton.
“And from the flood experience in the previous year, the respective state agricultural development project offices should have map out the low line places and budget for appropriate crops.”
He also advised for the adequate use of the receding moisture from the flooded plains.
The executive director commended NIMET for modernising its prediction towards becoming more efficient in advising Nigerians against the vagaries of weather.