How to protect rice, other crops from drought

 Daniel Essiet


A FORMER Vice-Chancellor, Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), Ondo State, Prof Biyi Daramola has urged the government to create more irrigation water for newly planted rice crops, which face water shortage.

The outgoing farming season has witnessed dry spells in most parts of the country, leading to a significant drop in the production of staple food crops.

Climate-related shocks reported in most parts of the North and the Southwest had exacerbated  vulnerabilities and cause deterioration in food security and nutrition.

Daramola said as the nation was witnessing agriculture water challenge seen, it was critical to make changes that can allow farmers to get the most from the resources available.

According to him, challenges faced by growers in southern and northern cropping regions would be addressed through investments in irrigation.

He called for investments designed to provide growers with the knowledge, confidence and tools to adopt irrigation management strategies which optimise return on investment.

He appealed to the government to intervene in the water market, to guarantee grown rice in the market.

He called for efforts to enhance the capacities of farmers to better prevent and respond to future disasters.

In July, the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) forecast that massive flooding would  tore through many parts of the country  between last month and this month.

The red alert came days after flash floods ripped through Suleja Local Government Area of Niger State that resulted in at least 11 fatalities.

NIHSA advised governors of the states to start immediate evacuation of residents in flood-prone areas, noting that heavy rains may lead to property destruction and possible loss of lives. 275 local government areas of the 774 were expected to be moderately affected, while 102 councils might be severely hit, according to its Director-General Clement Nze.

Among the high-risk areas were Abia, Adamawa, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Cross Rivers, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Gombe, Imo, Kaduna, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, Tobe, and Zamfara states. The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET), created by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to help decision-makers plan for humanitarian crises, noted that continued higher levels of conflict in recent years in northeastern Nigeria have led to an increased strain on livelihoods. This, according to it, was further exacerbated by flooding in localised areas of the northeast and a typically high staple food prices during the extended lean season from April/May through the end of September.


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