NiMet’s renewed collaboration with Agriculture Ministry is good for Nigerian economy

NIMET’s Seasonal Climate Prediction can assist in shaping agriculture in Nigeria with regard to information about the pattern and duration of rainfall across the country’s agronomic zones

By Dr. Uche Nworah

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security is a Ministry of the Federal Government of Nigeria that has the mandate to ensure food security in crop, livestock and fisheries. The ministry is also tasked to stimulate agricultural employment and services, promote the production and supply of raw materials to Agro- allied industries, provide markets for the products of the industrial sector, generate foreign exchange and aid rural socio-economic development throughout Nigeria.

The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet), is a Federal Government of Nigeria agency charged with the responsibility to advise the Federal Government on all aspects of meteorology. NiMet is also tasked to project, prepare and interpret government policy in the field of meteorology; and to issue weather (and climate) forecasts for the safe operations of aircrafts, ocean going vessels and oil rigs.

The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet), and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security have in the past made moves to strengthen their existing relationship towards improving agricultural production and food security in Nigeria. The Ministry and NiMet had signed an MoU on the 3rd of March, 2022, to collaborate in a lot of areas including development of a dash-board for early warning systems, capacity building for staff of the Ministry and other stakeholders on accessing and interpreting information on meteorological parameter changes, and the provision of agro-meteorological advisory services to farmers on specific agricultural commodities. It would seem as if things quietened down after the MoU was signed.

However, at a joint press briefing on NiMet’s 2024 Seasonal Climate Prediction (SCP), at the instance of the Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Abubakar Kyari, on Tuesday, 16th April, 2024, the Honourable Minister and the Director General, Chief Executive Officer of NiMet, and Nigeria’s permanent representative with World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Professor Charles Anosike, resolved to strengthen the relationship and make it stronger. The Honourable Minister said at the press briefing; “Your presence here today, at our headquarters, marks another milestone in the deliberate and desirable collaboration and co-operation between our Ministry and your agency. Over the years, critical sectors of the economy, such as aviation, maritime, and agriculture, have come to rely on the Seasonal Climate Prediction published by NiMeT usually in the first quarter of the year. The reliability of the Seasonal Climate Prediction is indicated by increased recourse to the weather advisories contained therein”.

The Honourable Minister also said that NIMET’s Seasonal Climate Prediction can assist in shaping agriculture in Nigeria with regard to information about the pattern and duration of rainfall across the country’s agronomic zones, when to grow and length of growing season, as well as dry spells that could occasion loss of agricultural investment, where remedial measures are not taken. This in turn helps to boost the adaptive capacity of farmers. Regrettably, there have been farming seasons in Nigeria when farmers did not take advantage of the institutional advice from NIMET, and on their own misread the rainfall pattern, only to face dry spells that invariably ruined their crops and livelihoods.

In his remarks, Professor Anosike thanked the Honourable Minister for his leadership and the kind gesture to strengthen the relationship between NiMet and the ministry. “NiMet wishes to build on the database of farmers that the ministry has. Already NiMet disseminates information about seasonal climate prediction through formal engagements with farmers , and through the media such as the BBC, social media, Radio Nigeria and through national television stations.
However, a lot of gaps still exist within the dissemination space. Our goal is to reach as many Nigerians as possible with timely, accurate and actionable weather and climate information as part of NiMet Early Warning Drive”

Continuing, Professor Anosike said; “Food security requires consistent collaboration with all stakeholders. The SCP as predicted are being manifested but the challenge remains disseminating the contents to over 70 million farmers in Nigeria. Farmers need to be equipped with information and other resources to make climate resilient decisions”.

It is noteworthy and encouraging that weeks after the joint press briefing between the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security and NiMet, there are evidences of the renewed collaboration. This is positive and will benefit the Nigerian economy. Knowledge is power and if Nigerian farmers have weather and climate information translated in their local languages, they will be able to make climate resilient decisions such as knowing when to plant, what species of plants and seeds to plant and when to harvest to achieve greater yield.

The 2024 Seasonal Climate Prediction (SCP) released by NiMet provides an outlook of climate variables to help improve decision-making across all sectors of the economy. NiMet’s SCP for 2024 which was originally released in February 2024, forecasts normal on-set of rains over the northern states.Borno, Abia and Akwa Ibom states are predicted to have early on- sets. An early end to the season is predicted for parts of Yobe, Jigawa, Sokoto, Kebbi, Kano, Kaduna, Plateau, Nasarawa, Taraba, Gombe, Bauchi, Cross River, Ebonyi, Ogun and Lagos states.

A late secession is predicted over the southern states of Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Ondo, Ekiti and part of Edo, Delta, Ogun, Oyo, Kogi, Kwara, FCT, Niger and Kaduna states.
Day and Night time temperatures for January to May is predicted to be warmer than normal in most parts of the country. Also, most of the North is anticipated to be cooler in March.

The Ministry and NiMet have re-intensified efforts at disseminating NiMet’s seasonal climate prediction (SCP), using FRCN network service, local radio, local and national press, national and local television. They are also using social media platforms. Applying the multi-step information flow model will require social media savvy stakeholders picking up the information online and sharing same to the farmers in their various communities.

A critical aspect of the dissemination is the physical downscaling of the SCP information to farmers in the various communities. This will require the support of the various states ministries of agriculture and NGOs operating in the agricultural space. They should support current downscaling efforts by the ministry and NiMet. From the schedule released by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, and NiMet, downscaling of SCP information to farmers in the six geopolitical zones have been scheduled as follows; Ondo (13th May), Imo (15th May), Delta (17th May), Niger (22nd May), Sokoto (4th June) and Borno (6th June). Farmers, civil society organizations, states ministries of agriculture, the media and other stakeholders can help in sensitizing the farmers to attend on the dates stated for their zones.

This initiative by the two MDAs is viewed as a positive step towards enhancing food security in Nigeria. It will empower our farmers, and has the capacity to mitigate the perennial challenges of climate variability. It will at the same time contribute towards sustainable resilience in the agricultural value chain.

The full SCP report can be downloaded from The report is also available from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture And Food Security Abuja, and State Ministries of Agriculture.

Dr. Nworah, a public affairs commentator wrote from Lagos.

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