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CSDevNet, FENRAD engage female local farmers in Abia state on NiMet’s Seasonal Climate Prediction

Group photo of the participants at the Stakeholders Engagement Workshop
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Group photo of the participants at the Stakeholders Engagement Workshop

A member organisation of Climate and Sustainable Development Network (CSDevNet) in the South-east region of Nigeria, Foundation For Environmental Rights Advocacy & Development (FENRAD) organised a one-day workshop to sensitize rural farmers “on the implication of the SEASONAL RAINFALL PREDICTION (SRP) 2021” in responding to the prediction recently released by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet).

The workshop was a capacity building training to equip the local farmers with basic knowledge and information on weather monitoring, climate change, disaster management, water supply and management among others.

FENRAD and its associates hinted that the workshop at Ugwunagbo Abia state was one among the series slated to hold across the Southeast Geo-political zone.

 

Just recently, the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has predicted normal to above normal 2021 Seasonal Climate Prediction (SCP) and rainfall season.

The following are contained in a report released after the training workshop, titled, “Reports of the one-day stakeholders engagement on the NiMet prediction on the rainfall  and climate conditions 2021”.

“The Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP) tool is produced by NiMet to inform policy and decision-makers in key sectors of Nigerian economy such as agriculture, aviation, land transportation, disaster management, mining, water supply and management, to monitor weather and climate in Nigeria and provide authoritative meteorological information for sustainable development and safety of life and property in the country.

Sequel to the above, CSDevNet and FENRAD organized a multi-stakeholder engagement with local female farmers groups in Uguwunagbo LGA of Abia state in building the capacities of the Rural women farmers on the NIMET prediction and to share an understanding based on SRP the predicted dates of onset, cessation and duration of 2021 growing season in the Region/State.

Also to determine the appropriate time and period of planting crops to minimize failures and losses and to identify the most likely locations and periods of flash and river flooding in the region.

This Activity is implemented by the Foundation for Environmental Rights, Advocacy & Development (FENRAD)  South-east Regional Coordinator of CSDevNet with the support of CSDevNet and the Pan African Climate Justice  Alliance (PACJA) Niarobi Kenya.

The one-day engagement program of rural women farmers to sensitize them on the implications of seasonal rainfall prediction (SRP) 2021 on socio-economic in Nigeria.

The program which was organized by FENRAD Nigeria, was hosted at Asa Amuhie Civic hall in Ugwunagbor local government Area of Abia State. It started at about 12:04 pm with the open declaration of the community contact person Hon Angela Ukoma.

In her brief remarks, she informed the participants that the gathering was not for political purpose but strictly from Non-Governmental Organisation whose one of the core mandates is to engage and equally sensitize respective persons on what need to know.

Afterwards, she introduced the Executive Director of FENRAD, Comrade Nelson Nnanna Nwafor, also the anchor and presenter of the program. The ED in his remarks, aligned with the community contact person by reemphasizing that the forum has no political connotation but the initiative of NGO.

He said that NGOs from time to time will always develop interest after identifying with the people on the area they can offer to help that this program is not exceptional from what NGOs are doing.

He said that FENRAD and CSDevNet were in Ugwunagbor local government area to educate the rural farmers amongst women folks to know what needs to be done should there be change in seasonal farming.

“The rainfall farming season is one important farming process that can likely wipe out farm seeds should one lack the techniques to tackle it. The Nigerian Metrological Agency (NiMet), is committed to ensuring that rainy seasons do not affect the process of farming. This is why the information to keep the farmers abreast of weather conditions are being periodically released.

A booklet containing weather predicted schedules was read and explained in details to the participants. Predicted weather conditions information by NiMet which has specific weather projections were taught the participants.

 

“In the projections, there is the distance apart raining condition for instance, it could rain in Ugwunagbor that is very close to aba but not raining in Aba.

 

He also added that Ugwunagbor is highly advantaged given the fact that it has weather friendly conditions that favors planting seasons.  Interwovenlly, Mrs. Joy Ukoma from Asa Amaise Community asked about what possibly could be the cause of a land or soil that receive maximum rainfall but cannot produce bountifully.

 

In response the presenter highlighted the causes that could be connected to the following:

 

1. The activities of Oil operating companies which includes: Gas flaring, Oil spillage, movement of heavy equipment etc. He said that oil spillage can spread to Ten communities and destroy farmlands thereby degrade the soil nutrients.
2. Natural causes owing to continuous cultivation on the land. He said that such ocurrances will only be detected and corrected by a soil testing expert.
A cross-section of some Rural Women Farmers showing their excitement for learning and being part of the program.

 

Another question came from Mrs. Comfort C. Ukoma who asked about the causes of maize plant stunted growth. Responding, the presenter said that it could be as a result of pest or contaminated soil. He suggested that an agriculture extension officer in the local government council should live up to expectation by visiting the rural farmers.

 

The rapporteur, Comrade Henry O. Nwaigwe, added that that bush burning was against the process of farming that if not checked, could cause more harm than good. He mentioned the adverse effect of bush burning to include: serious reduction in soil fertility, environmental degradation among the host of others.

 

He suggested that rather than burning bushes, the plants should be converted to compost manure in addition to other natural manures that generates from: fowl feaces, ashes, decayed plants etc. He concluded that if they are applied, it will improve in the fertilization of planting soil.

 

Going further, the presenter spoke on afforestation and deforestation: explaining this aspect, he said that deforestation is the act of cutting down on trees while afforestation is planting more to save the environment reduce heat and harsh weather.

 

He used Aba city to give an example of deforestation  in which buildings have covered the spaces where trees would have been planted to reduce hot weather conditions ravaging aba and it environs. He reemphasized on bush burning, according to him, the bush burning method of farming was seriously condemned with its attendant consequences of killing soil fertility etc.

 

He said that farmers that uses bush burning method do so because of lack of sufficient manpower. He said that this is the area that farmers need government intervention hence they the farmers do not have the financial capacity to procure instruments to practice nonbush burning method like in the northern region.

 

Mrs. Joy Ukoma in her advise was of the opinion that such  program as this should be lifted to local government level so that the people at that level should add their voices for Government to hear and act where necessary. The presenter promised to hold the next workshop at the local government council.

 

Madam Nwayinma Nwauju encouraged the presenter to keep the good work aglow. She said the program has drawn her attention to know when and when not to plant  given the prediction of rainfall. She equally acknowledged the effort of the community contact person which according to her that they have found good Government representative where she is.

 

Mrs. Vivian Okezie, asked to know if there are crops that can survive in the north and not survive in the East? The presenter, in response said that there is no crop in the north that cannot survive in the east.

 

“The reason why it looks as if the north are growing more crops than the east is because their Government is always given  them the  necessary support unlike in the east where no famer is being supported by the government. That is why the farmers here after struggling to produce items like garri, they keep it at high cost.

 

The presenter Comrade Nelson Nnanna Nwafor Executive Director FENRAD promised that he was going to organize a program where Government officials will be present to hear from them directly.

 

Mrs. Joy Ukoma, was appointed to give a vote of thanks. In her remarks, she thanked  those she called resource persons. She attributed the new method of farming she learnt to the program of the day. She said that her wish is to get more support from the government to be able to practice all that have been taught them at the engagement program. She asked the resource persons to keep the good work going while expecting reward from above, she concluded.

 

Happiness Akwaraonwu, said the closing prayer. In her prayer, she asked God to give them the wisdom to internalize what they have learnt and put it into practice for better result. She asked for journey mercies to all participants and greater blessings to the organizers. The program ended at 01:52; pm”.
The presenter, Comrade Nelson Nnanna Nwafor (Executive Director, FENRAD and South-east Coordinator, CSDevNet) giving his presentation and handling the question/answer session during the Program.

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