Take NiMet’s advice on late planting, don counsels farmers



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A Professor of Agriculture at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta  (FUNAAB), Kolawole Adebayo, on Tuesday advised farmers to observe delayed planting due to inconsistent early rains.

Kolawole gave the advice in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Lagos.

The university teacher said that the advice became necessary to support the earlier counsel on delayed farming by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet).

According to him, Nigeria’s reliance on a rain-fed agriculture sector is a major reason for the delay in this year’s planting season.

“In Ogun, the state government has advised local farmers not to start the planting season, following the first two rains of the year.

“That is why we have the meteorological centres, and their general advice is that the rains we have now are temporary, and will soon stop.

“So, for a country that relies extensively on rain-fed agriculture, I believe we should just follow the advice of the meteorological services, and wait toward the end of March before commencing the planting season.”

Adebayo, however, noted that the delayed planting season would not result in food shortages in the country.

The don called on farmers with well-irrigated farms to commence the planting season.

“For farmers that have good irrigation facilities on their farms, there is nothing that stops them from commencing the planting season now.

“Alternatively, if you have a wet or swampy area, where you cultivate your crops, you can also commence your planting season.

“Even with the delayed planting season this year, we are not expecting food shortage in the country later in the year.

“I expect we will have a good agriculture yield this year because the patterns of rains have been steady in recent years.

“We have intensive dry season, and I think that is a good sign because it means that our rainy season will be more regular and more intensive, and will be of benefit  to the sector,’’ Adebayo said.

The professor also tasked local farmers on the adoption of greenhouse farming system, to tackle food insecurity issues or a weather-conditioned farming system.

Adebayo described greenhouse farming as an intensive and knowledge-based farming system.

According to him, anybody who wants to embark on it must acquire the appropriate knowledge and must have the resources to ensure that all that is needed for the set up is available.

“Greenhouses have the potentialities for crop high yields and ensure that these commodities are available all-year round.

“You will not have to rely on rainfall to practice greenhouse farming, or natural soil fertility; the farmer has to introduce artificial soil fertility to maintain the greenhouse farm.

“To run a greenhouse system of cultivation, the farmers cannot rely on farmers’ seed, but must plant hybrid seeds, and the return on this farming system is higher than the conventional farming system,’’ Adebayo said.

Edited By: Folorunso Poroye/Wale Ojetimi

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