…Signs MoU with Agriculture Ministry
By Hillary Asemota
The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Agriculture to provide Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) in 10 states across the country.
Speaking during his introductory remarks at the signing ceremony, the Director General/CEO of NiMet, Prof. Mansur Bako Matazu, who was delighted, disclosed that: “Today is a very happy day for us in NiMet because in all our collaborations and partnerships, this one with the Ministry of Agriculture is paramount.” he said.
Matazu, noted that collaboration with the Ministry has been going on in different fora at different platforms under some of the projects that reports directly to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Describing the event as historical, the NiMet boss, 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 Ministry of Agriculture provides.
He disclosed that from surveys conducted and interactions, like any average African farmer, Nigerian farmers are knowledgeable and intelligent, they can guess weather and climate by 55% precision on their own.
He added that what NiMet does is to increase the precision by putting scientific evidence and data information thereby increasing the precision by more than 90 per cent, stressing that it has been established that just by adopting weather and climate information in agriculture, yield is increased by as high as 40 percent and risk is reduced by more than 90%.
In his welcome address, the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development, FMA&RD, Dr. Ernest Afolabi Umakhike 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 on mobile phones.