An Agro-meteorologist at the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T) in Ibadan, Oyo State, has advocated the conservation of rainwater for sustained agricultural activities, especially in Oyo North and Kwara South.
Mr Adewale Adetayo gave the advice in an interview on Tuesday, February 16, 2021.
The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet), in a statement recently, predicted short spell of rainfall in Oyo North and Kwara South in 2021.
The agency said that farmers in those areas should be advised accordingly.
Adetayo noted that available water resources in Oyo North and Kwara Souht might not satisfy water demand for agriculture and other uses in 2021.
According to him, rainwater harvesting techniques are among the low-cost strategies with high potential to mitigate the impact of drought.
“Low-cost water harvesting systems may enhance the water status of the affected areas of the country and contribute to achieving sustainable development when properly planned, deployed and managed.
“When farmers have access to more water, there will be increase in the crop and livestock production. Warmer than normal temperature predicted are also expected to affect livestock production.
“Mortality rate is expected to increase due to temperature fluctuations, for instance, day-old chicks may be most affected.
“Spread of heat related diseases is likely to be experienced as a result of predicted warm conditions, therefore, necessary vaccines should be provided for animals,’’ he said.
Also, Mr John Olateru, the Chairman of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Oyo State chapter, has urged the Federal and State Governments to utilise dams in the country for irrigation.
“They have to acquire lands wherever they have dams, access facilities from Bank of Industry (BOI) to buy and install irrigation facilities.
“Short fall of rain in Oyo North and Kwara South means we will go back to square one, which we cannot afford, therefore, irrigation is the only solution.
“We are yet to recover from 2020 drought brought about by poor rainfall pattern, 2021 may be worse. This is national emergency, it should be addressed,’’ Olateru said.
The chairman, however, advised farmers to explore every available window of opportunity.
“Where we cannot afford irrigation, let us carryout land preparation while waiting for onset of rainfall.
“Also, farmers should start planting immediately the rain starts falling, this will give farmers time advantage.
“Farmers that adopted this system in 2020 were the ones smiling to the banks,’’ he said.
By Chidinma Ewunonu-Aluko