Food security: 2020 NiMet predictions, socio-economic implications in Nigeria IV, by Prof M. K Othman

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Professor M. K Othman.
Professor M. K Othman.

BreakThrough

NiMet predictions cover other climate variables in addition to the rainfall. Temperature variation across the country was another parameter predicted by NiMet.

The predictions for day and night temperatures were similarly presented. Alongside the temperature, predictions were predictions of incidences of Malaria and Meningitis in several towns across the nation.

On temperature prediction in 2020, greater parts of the country were generally predicted to experience warmer temperature in some months of the year 2020.

What are the variations and increases in temperature in several towns? What are the implications for these predictions? What is the mitigation strategy for the farmers in the affected areas?

These questions were posed at the closing paragraph of the last part of this piece. Temperature increase or decrease has both economic and health implications for the nation.

Night and day temperatures were predicted for many towns. The prediction indicates that many areas will experience normal temperature for both night day time.

However, cooler than normal night temperatures are likely over Jalingo and surrounding areas in Taraba.

Similarly, in the month of February, the prediction indicates cooler than normal cases in southwestern parts of the FCT (Abaji, Kwali and Gwagwalada areas), Southwestern parts of Taraba, Eastern and western parts of Benue, parts of Cross River, Kogi, Enugu, Delta, Ekiti, Ondo, Edo, Osun, Ogun and Oyo.

In the same month of February 2020, the nighttime temperature forecast is predicted warmer-than-normal conditions are predicted in some parts of northwest, northeast, few areas in the south such as Shaki and Ogoja.

READ ALSO: Food Security: 2020 NiMet predictions and socio-economic implications in Nigeria III, by Professor M. K Othman

In the Month of March 2020, the temperature condition will vary for many areas. In areas around Katsina, Kano, Nguru, Dutse, Potiskum, Maiduguri, Gombe, Yola, Jalingo, Bauchi, Zaria and Ikeja will experience slightly warmer-than-normal maximum temperature conditions in the daytime.

The daytime temperature variation in the month of April 2020 divides the country into three with the prediction in the north indicating warmer than normal temperature.

Thus, the entire far north and Niger state in the north-central will experience higher daytime temperature than normal. The southern part of the country will experience normal temperature conditions with the exception of areas around Anambra, Imo, Abia, Rivers, Kogi and parts of Lagos states.

These areas are likely to experience cooler day temperatures. A similar pattern is also predicted for the nighttime temperature, which will be warmer than normal in the north and normal temperature conditions in the south with exceptions of the pocket of areas that will be cooler than normal temperature. These pocket areas are parts of Oyo, Niger, Ondo and Ekiti States that are likely to experience cooler than normal conditions in April 2020.

The rise in temperature has a serious implication to the people. Warmer temperatures can also lead to a chain reaction of other changes around the world. That’s because increasing air temperature also affects the oceans, weather patterns, snow and ice, and plants and animals. The warmer it gets, the more severe the impacts on people and the environment.

Globally, one degree Celsius increase in temperature can cause estimate deaths of at least 30,000 people but may decrease the winter mortality in Northern Europe and the US.

This small temperature rise may not directly be responsible for the deaths but may cause diseases.

Malaria is one of such diseases, which air temperature and other environmental factors favour its emergence. What is the NiMet prediction on the prevalence of Malaria in the country?

According to the prediction for the months of February and March 2020, there should be high vigilance for malaria in Akwa Ibom, Cross rivers, Bayelsa, Abia, Lagos, River states, and parts of Delta state. However, moderate vigilance is required over Abuja, Nassarawa, Benue, Kogi, Anambra, Enugu, Osun, Ekiti, Oyo states, parts of Niger and Kebbi states.

Similarly, in the month of April 2020, there should be high vigilance of Malaria in the coast and deleter regions of the south as well as inland areas including Taraba, Benue and Kogi states.

The incidence of cerebrospinal meningitis was also predicted. Meningitis is another disease likely to occur as a result of temperature rise. Dust, wind and humidity are conditions favourable for the emergence of meningitis.

Between the month of February and April 2020, NiMet SRP advised for high vigilance to checkmate likely incidence of Meningitis in some areas within Sokoto, Zamfara, Borno, Yobe, parts of Gombe, Bauchi, Jigawa, Katsina Kogi, Kwara and Benue states. What are the socio-economic implications of the 2020 NiMet SRP to the nation?

The SRP predicted the rainy season of 2020 to be “near-normal” to earlier than “normal” with near “normal rainfall amount” in most parts of the country.

The predictions have serious implications for critical sectors that influence the national economy and livelihood of Nigerians. Agriculture is the first of these important sectors.

To mitigate the effects of seasonal changes in 2020, farmers are advised to avoid planting during the pre-onset period and they should take advantage of this period to make land preparation, credit sourcing and inputs procurement.

Farmers are advised to adopt risk management techniques such as taking of agricultural Insurance.

Use weather and climate information throughout the agricultural value chain are strongly recommended to farmers. NiMet made very important recommendation “governments at all levels are advised to embark on awareness and sensitization of farmers and other stakeholders on Climate Smart Agricultural (CSA) practices such as on-farm water harvesting structures, soil and water conservation practices, land preparation.

These practices will improve productivity, build resilience and reduce emission.

The use of drought, stress-tolerant seed varieties and early-maturing varieties are strongly recommended to areas expected to have a significant chance of the rainy season.

On poultry production, the predicted warmer than normal temperatures from January to April over the northern states will affect poultry feed conversion ratio, shell quality and egg weight in layers may likely be affected.

Therefore, heat stress prevention strategies and improving the general environmental conditions will go a long way in boosting poultry production in 2020.

Similarly, the predicted warmer than normal temperatures across the country is likely to affect the feed intake, milk production, and reproductive efficiency of the ruminants such as cattle, sheep and goat.

The electrical power sector is another critical area, which receives a direct impact from predicted high temperatures and low rainfall amounts. Power generation, transmission and distribution could be affected by onset, cessation and length of the rainy season.

The effects range from the uprooting of transmission/distribution poles due to strong storms to lower the water level in the hydro-generating stations that result in poor power generation, transmission and distribution.

Hence, NiMet recommended, “use of renewable energy such as solar, gas turbine and windmills as alternatives to Hydroelectricity generation”. These areas have a high potential for the country and should thus, be explored and exploited.

The transportation sector is another area of concern likely to be affected by NiMet Predictions. Road transport, aviation, rail and marine are likely to be directly or indirectly influenced by the 2020 SRP. High temperature, rainstorms and violent winds, which characterize the onset of rainfall period, can cause disruptions in road transport, damage road infrastructure, and complicate road maintenance.

Poor visibility and heavy storms are characteristics of Nigerian tropical rainy season and greatly affect the aviation subsector.

In conclusion, NiMet has successfully discharged her important mandate of presenting the 2020 SRP to the public. The ball is now in the court of the stakeholders to effectively utilize the information available in the document titled “2020 seasonal rainfall prediction”.

The recommendations made in the document are germane and very useful for the prevention and mitigation of the adverse effects of weather in the face of current climate change. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

Last note; for the nation to maximally benefits from NiMet’s wealth of services on the dissemination of climate information and daily weather forecast to general public, there is a strong need for synergy between NAERLS and NiMet.

Both are public-funded organizations; while NAERLS specializes in information packaging and dissemination in a most efficient way, NiMet specializes in climate information generation and collation.

Thus, their combined effort to serve the nation is highly desirable at this critical period of climate change.

Professor Othman is the Executive Director of the National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services (NAERLS), ABU Zaria.

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