NiMet inks pact for automated weather stations in ten states

The Nigerian Meteorological Agency, NiMet, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development, FMA&RD on the provision of Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) in ten states in Nigeria.

Speaking during his introductory remarks at the signing ceremony, the Director-General/CEO of NiMet, Professor Mansur Bako Matazu, who was delighted, disclosed that ” Today is a very happy day for us in NiMet because, in all our collaborations and partnerships, this one with the Ministry of Agriculture is paramount.” He said.

Matazu noted that collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture has been going on in different fora at different platforms under some of the projects that report directly to the Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development.

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Describing the event as historical, Prof. Matazu said “One of our major users/ clients in the country are the peasant farmers, who constitute a very large portion of the occupation stratum of this country and which require weather and climate information as input in addition to other inputs that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture provides.

He disclosed that from surveys conducted and interactions, like any average African Farmer, Nigerian Farmers are knowledgeable and Intelligent, they can guess weather and climate by fifty-fifty precision on their own, adding that what it does is to increase the precision by putting scientific evidence and data information.

He further stated that this precision is increased by more than 90 percent, stressing that it has been established that just by adopting weather and climate information in agriculture, yield is increased by as high as 40 percent and risk is reduced by more than 90 percent.

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In his welcome address, the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development, FMA&RD, Dr. Ernest Afolabi Umakhike observed that the signing of the MoU is gratifying as it signals the full commencement of the collaboration and starts at the onset of the rains as forecasted by NiMet, adding that timely weather information will boost the productivity of farmers and reduce losses from adverse weather conditions in line with the Ministry’s policy as contained in the National Agricultural Technology Innovation Policy, NATIP.

He noted that over the years, NiMet Seasonal Climate Prediction, SCP, has helped to shape agriculture in Nigeria and will go a long way to increase the adaptive capacity of Nigerian farmers to changes in weather. While thanking the NiMet DG for finding time to come for the signing, he said he looks forward to the time Nigerian farmers nationwide can receive weather on mobile phones.

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Wole Shadare