The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMeT) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) on the provision of Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) in 10 states in Nigeria.
Speaking during his introductory remarks at the signing ceremony, the director-general of NiMeT, Prof. Mansur Matazu, described the partnership with the ministry as “very paramount”.
Matazu noted that collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture has been going on in different fora at different platforms under some of the projects that report directly to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Describing the event as historical, Matazu said: “One of our major users/ clients in the country are the peasant farmers, who constitute a very large portion of the occupation stratum of this country and which require weather and climate information as input in addition to other inputs that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture provides.
“From surveys conducted and interactions, like any average African farmer, Nigerian farmers are knowledgeable and Intelligent; they can guess weather and climate to a 50-50 precision on their own. What NiMeT does is to increase the precision by putting scientific evidence and data information.
“This precision is increased by more than 90 per cent. It has been established that just by adopting weather and climate information in agriculture, yield is increased by as high as 40 per cent and risk is reduced by more than 90 per cent.”
In his welcome address, the permanent secretary of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Dr. Ernest Umakhihe observed that the signing of the MoU is gratifying, as it signals the full commencement of the collaboration and starts at the onset of the rains as forecasted by NiMeT, adding that timely weather information will boost the productivity of farmers and reduce losses from adverse weather conditions in line with the ministry’s policy as contained in the National Agricultural Technology Innovation Policy (NATIP).
He noted that, over the years, NiMeT Seasonal Climate Prediction (SCP) has helped to shape agriculture in Nigeria and will go a long way to increase the adaptive capacity of Nigerian farmers to changes in weather. While thanking the NiMeT DG for finding time to come for the signing, he said he looks forward to the time Nigerian farmers nationwide can receive weather updates on [their] mobile phones.