A piece of advice for farmers during the rainy season

In most parts of Abeokuta, Ogun state, and indeed Nigeria currently experiencing heavy rains, farmers have been advised not to rush to farm, to plant any seed after the first rain, but until after when they are sure that the rains are consistent, as the rainy season arrives. This piece of advice was given by an agricultural officer, Jimoh Mubaraq, who is an expert in grains and tuber crops production, said farmers should busy themselves, for now with the clearing of farmlands in preparation for the onset of the rains, when seeds could then be planted with a warning that anything contrary could lead to losses. He said, “I want to advise farmers, especially those who are in the grains and tuber sectors, not to rush to farm after first rain, to plant. What if the rains refuse to continue in their streak? This means all the seeds planted would be scorched by the hot weather, and they would die, bringing losses to such farmers.

Consequently, farmers must wait for experts’ advice from bodies like the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet), which can give the pattern the rainy season would take for each year. He stressed that farmers should plant when the rains are consistent and steady, not one-off rain. “What the farmers should do now is to clear the farmlands they want to use, do the harrowing, prepare the ridges where necessary, and then wait for outset of the rains”, he maintained. Mubaraq stated further that getting ready quality seeds for planting was also another key factor in reaping bountiful harvest at the end of the planting season. He noted that after planting, the farmer must ensure that regular weeding was carried out and they should be aware of the right quantity and quality of fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides, or any other chemicals to apply on the crops to get good yield and ensure food safety.

In a related development, another agricultural officer, Chukwuemeka Okafor has disclosed that all-year-round vegetable cultivation is possible during when farmers take necessary and timely steps in the right direction. He stated that apart from the irrigation method, any prospective farmer, who might want to invest or venture into vegetable farming, should take to cognisance that vegetable cultivation thrives better on loamy soil area, and that beds must be prepared for the planting. Okafor warned that a vegetable farmer might not get maximum yield, if he/she did not plant the seeds on prepared vegetable beds because planting on flat land could prove disastrous in terms of yield. The agriculturist hinted further that any farmer, who has invested in vegetable cultivation has a ready market every time. He also suggested regular and timely weeding of vegetable farms because vegetables and weeds are not friends, adding that vegetables could never run short of having markets for sale, as people sought for vegetable all-year-round.

A vegetable farmer could farm all-year-round through irrigation system or by having the farm close to the river or stream. So, the market is there all-year-round since people eat vegetables for their health benefits”, he affirmed. In a nut shell, we could have virile agricultural practices through, but not limited to better forest resources management, maximising the raining season, and embarking on good irrigation system in the country. In the same vein, Nigeria’s drive towards self-sufficiency and food security requires deliberate efforts being put in place to achieve this. This range from getting the best from forest resources, maximising the raining season, and practising good irrigation system, among other suggestions. On forest resources, the experts have called for the formulation of pragmatic policies to guarantee continuous production to meet with consumption patterns of citizens.

The call was made by Michael Aduradola, a Professor of Forestry with specialisation in Silviculture and Agroforestry, saying that the concept of forest management came about as as a result of the assumption that forests would always exist, adding that with increase in population, the pressure on forest and its products continues to increase and that if the forest was exploited beyond its biological reproductive system, it might be catastrophic. “We have to protect and conserve the plant materials as part of our responsibility for medicinal use. So, I appeal to all of us to be conscious that we need the trees much more than the trees need us because without them, our life is in danger”, he stressed further.

Meanwhile, the Chairman, Board of Trustees, Forestry Association of Nigeria (FAN), Chief James Odebiyi had disclosed that if population increase cannot be controlled, it would be difficult to manage human consumption. “If governments are doing little to what the non-governmental organisations are doing, then we would have a lot of trees and our environment will be pollution-free, as we endeavour to preserve the forests for the benefit of mankind and encourage our youths to learn the rudiments of forestry”, he said. In conclusion, the former President of FAN advised that the government must engage in intensive and extensive enlightenment campaigns to remind people of the benefits of forests, among others.

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