…Expert links the drought to a 30 year prediction by German Meteorologist, Alfred Lothar Wegener
By Elizabeth Ameh and Haruna Halan (Maiduguri)
Farmers in Maiduguri have been expressing worry over the shortage of rainfall being experienced in the Maiduguri Metropolis and across Jere local government areas of the state , the situation which they fear might badly affects their yield this year.
The Month of August in this part of the Country, Maiduguri and its environs is normally visited with heavy rain fall, non-stop, often referred to as cat and dog rain, but residents fear this year’s rainy days might be different as a result of the shortage of rain being experienced in the state in the last 2 months (June, July).
Farmers at work, an effort to make sense of the grave challenge
In its yearly rain prediction, The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) 2023 Seasonal Climate Prediction (SCP) predicted rainfall on set for Borno State to start in June or July.
In July last month, the Borno State Emirate Council and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Borno Chapter, mobilized its members to offer special prayers to God for abundant rain across the city and some northern parts of the state.
Speaking in separate interviews, some famers across Jere and Maiduguri Metropolis, said the rain pattern this year comes with a lot of uncertainties and fear.
The farmers lament that most of their crops have started dying and wilting as a result, some of them have started pouring water on their crops as the next available option.
Daniel Birma, a Farmer in the University of Maiduguri, said “honestly, there has been lack of rain, a lot of things have spoil. Till now, we still have seeds in our hand that we want to go and plant but there is no rain, even some that we have planted already are drying up.
So there is a serious problem in this lack of rain but we are praying that God should do for us the way it’s supposed to be..”
Hannatu Yohanna, a farmer in the Jere axis, also affirms that ‘ the lack of rain has been an issue and we are praying that God should bring rain for us as our farm produce do not have water, they are being infected and are drying up.
if you go to the farm you just get angry, we just keep praying earnestly for God to send us rain as
He is a God who answers prayers always and He says that whatever you ask is what He will give unto you. We have asked and we know He will bring the rain.
We used to ask for rain, some days we pray and fast and stay at home, some that can prepare the local pap, do it and give it to children for free, then us that we use to pray and go to church to fast and pray like first day of the month like this so that the raining season will be good…
My groundnut right now has been infected, and termites have already sprung up from it due to lack of water. Termites also do enter millet, making it short and not to be growing. Whenever I go to the farm I pray. Even now, when I reach there, I will drop my load and ask God to bring rain for farm produce of all farmers not only mines.”
Elizabeth Haruna also a farmer in Jere, said “honestly, we are in serious suffering as what we have planted has already started drying up, some have not finished planting, seriously the government should also check up on us, we’re in serious hardship and there is also lack of rain.
Some have stayed three days without cooking food in their house. We are in serious problem; everybody who is passing is a thing of pity as crops are drying up”.
A Lecturer in the Department of Geography, University of Maiduguri, Dr. Alhaji Muktar, said the 2023 shortage of rainfall being experienced in some part of Borno State might not be unconnected with the prediction of a German Meteorologist , Alfred Wegener who said every 30 years history repeats itself about the weather parameters.
“…if we cast our mind back, there was a German meteorologist called Alfred Wegener, he defined that at least in every thirty(30) years, history used to repeat itself more especially about what we receive in this state of the weather parameters. The most important weather parameters are two, which are temperature and rainfall, so these two used to define the weather at any given point.
So in a nutshell, if you are around or you cast your mind back to 1993 or 1983 similar scenario was witnessed at that time, so there is going to be a dry spell in the rainy days during the rainy season, so normally in areas such as Maiduguri or North Eastern or the Sahelian region, rainfall or rainy days used to commence around early part of July and it spans through August, September and then maybe towards the end of October, or early November, it terminates, but this time around because of what that man has predicted, maybe we are having a repeat of the past now.
So the implication of this is, most of these crops, most especially the ones that are serious and cannot withstand long period without moisture in the soil, surely they are going to give way for others to survive and if care is not taken, there is going to be a serious crops failure.
so based on that at least, what I want to put across to the farmers who have witnessed their crops wilting, is for them to plant crops that require little amount of moisture for them to grow upto harvesting time like the legumes such as beans and other things that require little amount of water and they can survive even during the harmattan so long as there is moisture.
Farmers at work, discouraged but not relenting
In addition to that crop failure that is the major issue that we are likely to face, at least there are attending problems such as high temperature and at the same time high humidity and then that makes the environment unconducive for all of us. So it is a repeat of the historical fact that was postulated by Alfred Wegener a German meteorologist..´ Dr. Muktar said.
Dr Muktar however encouraged farmers not to lose hope in this year’s farming season, adding that those who are yet to commence planting should plant crops that require little amount of moisture that will take them to maturity time.
Just like Dr, Muktar predicted, Maiduguri witnessed a heavy downpour on 2nd August, 2023 and are hoping for more rainy days that will water their crops for this year’s harvest.