AS part of efforts targeted at sustain food production across the country, the Human and Environmental Development Agency (HEDA) with the support of Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NiMet) in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) organised a one-day seminar for farmers in Oyo state to sensitise them on seasonal climate prediction.
Speaking with journalists at the event, the Executive Secretary of HEDA Resource Center, Mr. Suliman Arigbabu, stated that Oyo State has the capacity to provide food for Nigerians with the available resources.
Arigbabu in his remarks at the one-day sensitisation programme tagged: “Downscale of the 2023 Seasonal Climate Prediction” maintained that the training was aimed at enlighten the people on the climate prediction with food security and sustainable development.
He noted that Oyo state has the capacity to feed Nigerians but yet to be producing 20 percent of its capacity.
He said: “Oyo state is one of the powerful states when it comes to agriculture in Nigeria. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been producing up to 20 percent of its capacity. The state alone can feed all Nigerians. So, until we get to that stage, we won’t rest,” he said.
The environmental activist urged the government at all levels to invest more in the agency that provides Meteorological advisories, saying that lack of adequate funding, absence of enough weather stations and manpower have been major reasons their predictions have not be as accurate as possible.
While charging the Oyo State Government to invest more in agricultural extension workers in rural areas, he admonished farmers to take climate advisories before engaging in farm cultivation.
“The Oyo State Government has to invest in agricultural extension. Infact, private sectors invest in extension workers, train and support them in local and rural areas.
“Farmers should take climate advisories before they go into farm cultivation”, he said.
In her remarks, the Oyo state coordinator of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Kakulu Florence, said the ministry signed Memorandum of Understanding with NiMet to downscale yearly weather prediction to farmers in the nation, noting that Oyo is one of the pilot states that is benefitting from the programme.
She however emphasised the need for the participants to downscale the training at their different locations for the benefit of other farmers not in attendance in order to encourage smart climate agriculture.
The NiMet Chief Meteorologist, Mr. James Adamu who talked about SCP revealed maintained that the agency produces every year is relevant for policy formulation, planning and decision-making by operators, stakeholders and individuals in both private and public sectors in Nigeria.
Commending the government on the initiative, the secretary of all farmers in Oyo state, Mr. Adewumi Abass, explained that the innovation has always been helping them to have clue on when rain is going to commence and cease every season.
He added that it has been giving them the opportunity to prepare for farming activities every season.
The programme was attended by farmers, environmental experts, civil society groups, among others.