The 2019 APS reported multifaceted impacts of flood caused by heavy rainfall across the nation. The impacts were largely on the nation economy affecting diverse areas such as health, creative technology, transportation education, trade and investment, business and finance. Such viral impacts must be technically included in the national and state plans for agricultural, environmental sanitation and development.
The 2019 APS report revealed that on the average, the flood incidences affected not less than 25 per cent of the crops grown, livestock and other properties in several towns and villages across the nation. Fortunately, in Nigeria, there are two agencies responsible for rainfall and flood predictions; Nigerian Metrological Agency (NiMet) and Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA).
NiMet and NIHSA perfectly predicted rainstorm and flood occurrences in several parts across the nation before the beginning of 2019 wet season. In February 2019, NiMet predicted 36 states to experience heavy rainstorms. As at the month of August, the 2019 APS report profiled exactly 36 states that were devastatingly affected by heavy rainstorms. Similarly, NIHSA’s predictions of flood incidences in 30 States actually came to pass as the APS report shows 34 states were heavily affected by flood occurrences between July and September 2019. In fact, NIHSA put 15 states on red alert in early August.
The implication of these results is that the agencies’ predictions should be taken seriously in the face of national states and LGAs planning against raining season. When NIHSA was making its prediction in June 2019, a statement by its Director General Clement Eze, said, “In our 2019 prediction, we mentioned that about 74 LGA would be heavily impacted by flooding while another 279 LGAs will not experience severe flooding.
The implication, he further stated, “is that Nigeria should begin to take measures to avert this disaster probably to occur between June, July, August and September” (Premium Times Online, 2019). What were the losses and damages caused by these heavy rainstorms and floods during 2019 wet season across the nation?
The APS report documented quantifiable losses of lives and properties due to flood incidences nationwide. From the commencement of 2019 wet season to first week of September 2019, floods and rainstorms in Adamawa, Borno and Niger states reportedly killed seven, ten and fifteen people, respectively.
On infrastructure, in Niger State alone, floods destroyed bridges linking many agrarian communities making the movement of farm inputs and products from and to markets difficult. In Katsina State, over 100,000 people were displaced across twelve local government areas of the state with around 4,000 houses damaged.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) reported on 09 September 2019, that flooding in Ngala local government area of Borno State destroyed over 600 houses. Similarly, the health sector was also affected. In Adamawa State, there was outbreak of cholera in four Local Government Areas with 674 reported cases, including four deaths as on 23 August.
These are few reported cases rainfall and flood incidences contained in 2019 APS, however, complete assessments of the losses and damages due to floods certainly require another in-depth study when the wet season is over.
In spite of the challenges of 2019 wet season caused by incidences of flood, the agricultural productivity was found to increase in 2019 compared to 2018 wet season. The report presented a rosy situation on the food production of most stable food commodities. What are the levels of crops productivity as reported in 2019 APS report?
Crops productivity covers land cultivated and estimated output per crop. Starting with rice one of the most important stable food in Nigeria. The crop is being produced in all the states of the federation but there are few states known to lead in production. In 2019, generally, cultivated land area for rice and production output increase marginally in all the states compared to 2018 wet season production. However, the highest increase in both cultivated area and output were recorded in Niger State.
At national level, a total land area dedicated for rice in 2018 was 1,989,370 hectares while in 2019 was 2,020,160 hectares in 2019 with a marginal 1.5% increase. Some states reported increase in land area dedicated to rice production. Ondo state recorded 13.68% increase, followed by Abia with 13.61%. The least state recorded a marginal increase was FCT which recorded 0.02% increase. States with above national average yields were reported. Kano state recorded the highest yield of 3.37 tons per hectare followed by Ogun state with 2.87 ton per hectares.
The least stated average yield per hectare was recorded in Gombe state that was found to be 1.56 ton per hectare. National Average yield of rice estimated to be 2.1 tons per hectare continues to be low compared to the yield obtained in research farms as well as potential yield under good agricultural practices. With this low yield being obtained for rice, can Nigeria produced adequate quantity of rice to meet national demand? The answer is affirmatively “yes”. Nigeria has a potential to produce adequate rice to meet the demand of the whole of West African sub-region. To do that however, the country needs to strategize, plan and implement such plan with high sense of responsibilities and commitments.
Maize is another stable food and cash crop grown in all the 36 states and FCT. There was an increase in cultivated land area and production output for maize in many states in 2019, but this increase was not significant against the 2018 production. This may be due to the fall in market price of maize shortly before the planting season in 2019. The low price of maize from harvest season of 2018 up to the Month of June 2019 discouraged many farmers from its cultivation.
The APS report indicates that Kaduna state recorded the highest increase in cultivated land and production for maize in 2019. At national level, a total land area cultivated for maize production in 2018 was 6,021,190 hectares while 6,051,325 hectares was used for the same crop in 2019. Thus, the marginal area increase was 0.5%. States with increase in cultivated for maize were Ebonyi state with 9.78% increase, followed by Imo with 5.58 %, then Edo become third with 5.54% and few others.
However, a decreasing trend in land area cultivated was equally notice in across 10 states. The states were Delta state, which recorded highest decrease of 5.93%, followed by Gombe with 3.26% and Anambra with 3.11%. Like rice, the yield per hectare is also very low with the National average yield of 2.12 tons per hectare. At states level, the averages vary widely between states from an average of 1.5 tons per hectares to 2.5 tons per hectare.
However, some states have appreciable yield per hectare such as only Nasarawa state with 2.92 tons per hectare, Kaduna with 2.60 tons per hectare, Kano recorded 2.75 tons per hectare and Niger state obtained 2.62 tons per hectare. This is very low compared to 6 to 9 tons of yield for maize obtained at on-farm research level and above 10 tons obtainable in several other countries.
Cotton is one of major annual fibre crop of high export value that is also grown in Nigeria. The crop is a very important cash crop with potential of engaging millions of Nigeria in gainful employment along its value chain. However, the crop development has been facing serious challenges in the last two decades making the country to massively import textiles and garment. Currently, the crop is grown mostly in the northern states of Borno, Yobe, Bauchi, Gombe, Adamawa, Taraba, Jigawa, Katsina, Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Kano, Kaduna, and Plateau. There was no considerable increase in cultivated land and production output in all the 14 states that grew cotton in 2019. Bauchi State top the league of cotton producing states followed by Katsina, Kano and Borno. The total land area estimates for cotton production in 2018 was 512.08 million hectares, which increased marginally by 1.29% in 2019.
The production forecast for cotton this year is found to be 230.65 Metric tons which is higher than last years’ production figure of 225.44 metric tons thus, signifying a 2.31% increase in the output. The average national yield in 2019 is 0.45 tons per hectare against 0.43 tons per hectare in 2018.
There are few other interesting crops, which contribute to food security and zero hunger contained in 2019 APS report. What need to be done to achieve zero hunger? To be continued next week
Professor Othman is the Executive Director of National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services (NAERLS), ABU Zaria.