The Emir of Bauchi, Dr Rilwanu Suleiman Adamu, has called for special prayers over inconsistent rainfall, which has delayed thousands of farmers in the state from planting their crops.
This was disclosed in a statement signed by the public relations officer of the Bauchi Emirate Council, Babangida Hassan Jahum. The emir called on the Muslim Ummah to assemble at the eid ground on Saturday for the prayers.
The prayers will commence by 9am, after which the faithful would move to the graveyards to ensure that all the leaking graves are repaired between Saturday and Sunday.
It was learnt that most farmers are yet to embark on activities due to the instability of rainfall, particularly in Bauchi Local Government Area, parts of Ganjuwa, Bauchi central and the northern part of the state.
Our correspondent observed that many farmers were clearing their lands waiting for the right time to plant. The situation has kept the farmers in dilemma.
Some of them have, however, been compelled to plant small quantities of different varieties of crops due to the fear of the unknown.
Lamenting the situation, a farmer at Ganjuwa Local Government Area, Falalu Ibrahim said, “Last year, I planted three bags within three days, but this year, I have planted less than a half bag due to inconsistent rainfall. Many of my colleagues have not yet plant for fear the losing their seeds.”
A large-scale farmer in Bauchi town, Ibrahim Abubakar Bello, said the situation had affected his earlier plan for mass production this season. He said his investment would be limited due to the inconsistent rainfall. “I have already decided to cut down the size of my production to almost one-third and wait till the dry season to venture into irrigation system.
“As I speak to you, I have not even done harrowing on the farm, not to talk of planting anything. This is because last year, we planted our crops early June and the rain stopped in the first week of October. We are now in the last week of June, so there’s a lot fear,” he said.
Speaking on the situation, the secretary of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria, Bauchi State branch, Muhammad Sani Ibrahim, said most of their members were discouraged by the situation. He, however, expressed hope that rainfall would become stable.
When contacted, an agricultural expert and head of the Department of Agricultural Technology, Federal Polytechnic, Bauchi, Malam Abubakar Ibrahim, attributed the causes of the situation to human activities, including deforestation and increased use of fossil fuels.
Ibrahim advised farmers to concentrate on planting early-maturing varieties, such as beans, maize and sorghum, which will survive even with little rainfall.
He also suggested that farmers may decide to plant different forms of crops in a farm so that at least one or two would survive the inconsistent rains.
Daily Trust Saturday recalls that the Nigerian Metrological Agency (NIMET) had predicted heavy rains in part of Bauchi State in the early part July this year.
Meanwhile, farmers in Kano State have expressed concern over the delay experienced in this year’s wet season.
It is believed that drought is a natural hazard characterised by lower-than-normal rain distribution, which, when prolonged, is insufficient to meet the demands of human activities and the environment.
Farming activities usually commenced at the end of April in Kano, but now, it is almost the end of June and the rainfall has not yet stabilised, a development many of the farmers consider a sign of drought.
It was also gathered that farmers have since concluded tilling and clearance for the year’s wet season, but couldn’t plant due to delay and poor rainfall distribution.
One of the farmers, Malam Ubale Muhammad Kumurya, said the delay in this year’s rainfall was really scary for most of them in the state. He added that though humans have no control over rainfall, the situation had become very worrisome.
“Last year, about this time, we had over 65 days of planting, but up till this moment, farming activities haven’t fully started due to late rainfall, known as drought spell in agricultural terms. Farmers are worried that this year’s rainfall has not started as they have expected. However, as faithful individuals we have been praying for a better wet season as we have committed everything to God,” he revealed.
Another farmer, Malam Isa Jafaru Bebeji, told our correspondents that drought spell had always been a thing of worry to farmers.
He said an average local farmer had a timetable for his annual agricultural activities, and he usually becomes worried when such timetable is prolonged beyond expectation.
“To be candid, for over two decades, farmers within this axis have never experienced such a prolonged drought spell that poses a threat to agricultural activities like this year.
“The assumed agricultural timetable for the year has been so prolonged that we become scared of the outcome. Many of us are still apprehensive of the outcome of this year’s wet season, but we will not be deterred, we believe it is the will of God and it shall be well,” he said.
But the national president of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Alhaji Farouk Rabi’u Mudi said there was no cause for alarm as it was already predicted that there is going to be a drought spell this year and that farmers shouldn’t be worried even though there were some technical processes that needed to be adopted.
“We have alerted farmers on the federal government’s prediction reports under the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, and we have seen that the predictions have come to pass. Therefore, I urge all farmers in the affected areas to exercise patience, the wet season will soon commence, God willing. We advised that when the wet season began, farmers should endeavour to plant early-yield variety seeds,” the AFAN president said.
It may lead to low crop yield, food crisis, expert says
A lecturer in the Department of Environmental Science of the Bayero University, Kano (BUK), Dr Yusuf I. Garba, said the delay may translate to low yield in the amount of crops produced this year.
According to him, “Normally, the delay in an onset of rainfall results in shorter length of the rains that year. So, in Kano and other neighbouring states where majority of the crops produced are rain-fed, this may translate to low yields and decrease in the amount of crops produced.
“This will trigger food crisis because majority of the farmers are subsistent. It could be averted by proper planning and use of early mature (short time crops) crop varieties.”
On whether the delay will be a recurring experience in subsequent years, the scholar predicted that, “It may happen next year, and it might not. Sometimes, the rains may start earlier than expected and stop early, before the normal time.
“Climate change results in climatic/weather uncertainties, and that is exactly what is happening. Sometimes, when the length of the rainfall is shortened, intensive/excessive (high amount) rain is received within a short time that results in flooding.
“Last year, a similar thing happened; the rainfall started very late and there was flood later,” he added.
Hassan Ibrahim (Bauchi), Ibrahim Musa Giginyu & Sani Ibrahim Paki (Kano)