Agriculture in Nigeria is highly dependent on seasonal climatic condition. According to FAO, About 90% of food production in Nigeria is predominantly done by smallholder farmers in Nigeria and they majorly depend on rainfall. Similarly, according to a report by IFPRI, only 1% of Nigerian cropland is irrigated which means most farmers cultivate their fields only during the rainy season. According to forecasts, the onset of the growing season is projected to range between early and normal in most regions of the nation. However, later than normal onset dates are anticipated over some of Nigeria's northern regions which include, Borno, Bauchi,Jigawa, Kano, Kastina, Zamfara, and Yobe states, as well as Abia, Imo, Rivers, Cross River, and Lagos states. Also, parts of the core North including Borno, Yobe, Kebbi, Kastina, Sokoto, and Jigawa are expected to have rainfall amounts that are below average (420–720 mm), which is likely to cause water stress there.
Adaptation measures for farmers in these areas;
Crop farmers are advised to;
1. Preserve soil moisture, practice regular weed control, and stimulate soil biota growth to improve crop production and soil health.
2. Create breaks in between rows and beds before the growing season to prevent soil erosion.
3. Reduce soil disturbance by practicing zero or minimal tillage.
4. To reduce leaching and runoff of the provided nutrient, avoid applying fertilizers right before it rains.
5. In times of drought, use supplementary irrigation.
6. Promote the usage of small-scale water harvesting techniques, such as ditches.
7. Choose early maturing and drought-resistant crop varieties and irrigation options to improve crop productivity.
8. It is advisable to adopt long-maturing types in regions where the length of the growing season is predicted to be normal.
The 2023 forecast indicates that daytime temperatures across the nation are predicted to be higher than usual in the months of January, March, April, and May when compared to the average from 30 years ago(1991–2020). Farm animals may suffer as a result of increase in daytime temperature, and this could further lead to economic losses. Therefore, it is advised to take the following actions.
1. Poultry pens should be well-ventilated and birds should be hydrated frequently.
2. Farmers should reduce stocking densities during the stress period and maintain good farm management practices.
3. It is important to regulate the body temperature of chicks and provide the chicks with clean water.
4. Poultry pens should be properly sanitized during the rainy season to prevent the breeding of fungi, bacteria, and other pathogens.
5. Poultry floor should be kept dry always to prevent the growth and spread of bacteria and fungi.
The rainy season increases the risk of illness and disease in ruminant animals including cattle, sheep, and goats. They are more susceptible to illnesses when fed with grass or other feeds that are already moldy due to warm, humid weather. Additional moisture might promote the growth of microbial pests (ticks) during the rainy season. The following are therefore recommended.
1. Farmers should routinely deworm their livestock.
2. Pests spread more quickly during the rainy season therefore, the rainy season is the best time to implement pest management measures.
3. Antibiotics should be administered to dairy cows to prevent udder mastitis (swelling of the udder), which could cause the cows to cease the production of milk.
4. Animal feeds should be stored in a clean, dry area during the rainy season. This is to prevent the growth of mold.
5. Clean water should be provided during high temperatures periods.
WATER RESOURCES MANAGEMENT
1. Intensifying campaigns on clearing drainages, better waste disposals, and evacuation plans where necessary.
2. Creating efficient water budget plans to commensurate with the 2023 rainfall forecasts.
3. Strengthening and improving integrated water resources management strategies.
4. Identifying and preparing suitable locations for relocating evacuees’ communities who might be affected in the event of widespread flooding while also enhancing search and rescue techniques.
5. Strengthening collaboration with supporting donors at the National and international levels.
6. Maintaining regular contact with the health authorities to effectively control the outbreak of waterborne diseases.
7. Construction of retention ponds to store excess water during heavy rainfall. These ponds can help to reduce the amount of water that flows downstream and prevent flooding.