AGRICULTURAL GEOGRAPHY

AGRICULTURE IN NIGERIA

Agriculture is defined as the cultivation of crops and rearing of animals for man’s use.   Types of Agriculture There are various types of agriculture in Nigeria. These include: Plantation (Mechanized) Agriculture It requires commercial cultivation in which products are mainly for sale. It requires a large area of land. It usually involves the cultivation of one crop i.e. monocropping. It requires large labour i.e. it is labour intensive. It also requires large capital investment. It also involves the cultivation of perennial crops like cocoa, rubber, oil palm, etc. The products are mainly raw materials used by processing industries. It leads to the development of social amenities like pipe borne water, electricity, etc. It is mainly practiced in the south where factors necessary for their cultivation are favourable e.g. cocoa in the west, oil palm in the east and rubber in Benin City.   Subsistence Agriculture Produce from subsistence agriculture is mainly for family consumption. It requires a small area of land. It involves the cultivation of many crops at a time i.e. mixed cropping. Family labour is usually used. It requires small capital to operate. Food crops like maize, cassava, yam, etc. are mainly grown. Simple farm tools like cutlass and hoe are mainly used.   Mixed Farming This system involves the cultivation of crops as well as the rearing of animals on the same piece of land. Crops mainly grown are rice, maize, yam, cassava, etc. while animals reared may be cattle, sheep, poultry, etc. It usually requires small area of land which is intensively cultivated. Pasture is mainly grown to provide high quality grasses and legumes (food) for the animals. It is very close to urban centres where produce can easily be dispersed of. It requires good transport network for easy disposal of products. It requires large market. Part of the crops produced can be used to feed the animals while the animal droppings are used as manure. It is mainly practiced in the north, especially in the Guinea and Sudan Savanna.   Intensive Agriculture This can also be referred to as market gardening or truck farming. This is mainly practiced in thickly populated urban areas in Kano, Lagos, Ibadan, Kaduna and Jos. It requires small area of land which is intensively cultivated throughout the year. Crop rotation method is adopted due to lack of land resulting from high population densities. It involves the cultivation of vegetables, fruits and flowers which are in high demand. It also involves the use of fertilizers to improve the fertility of the soil and the use of irrigation facilities. It is located near urban areas with large market and good network of roads. Its produce is sold off soon after harvesting due to easy perishability.   Crop Rotation Crop rotation is an example of intensive agriculture. Crops are rotated in sequence, year after year so as to maintain the fertility of the soil. Three to five different crops can be grown on the same piece of land but on different plots. Deep rooted crops e.g. yam is followed by shallow rooted crop like maize during rotation. A legume is always incorporated to add nutrients to the soil. It also involves the use of fertilizers to improve the fertility of the soil. Food crops are mainly produced.   Shifting Cultivation It involves the movement of the farmer and his family from one piece of land to another when the land is no more fertile. Simple farm tools and family labour are employed. Forest resources are destroyed. The land may rest for several years before it is put to use again. Food crops are mainly grown. Production is mainly for family consumption. It is practiced where land is abundant and where population is very low.   Pastoral Farming This is mainly practiced in the savanna belt of the north, especially in Sudan savanna. It is also referred to as nomadic herding. It involves the rearing of only animals like cattle, sheep and goat. It involves the constant movement of cattle and herdsmen called Fulanis from one place to another in search of pasture and water for the animals. Production is favoured by presence of plenty grasses. Production is favoured by absence of Tsetse flies.   Important Crops Produced in Nigeria Important crops produced in Nigeria can be grouped into two classes. These are: Food crops: These are grown to provide food. The crops grow and mature within one or two years. Grain crops like millet, rice, guinea corn and maize are popularly cultivated in the north due to light rainfall. Tuber and root crops like yam, cocoyam, cassava and some grain crops like rice are grown in the middle belt and in the south because of favourable rainfall and fertility of the soil. Rice is grown in the middle belt because of: Enough land due to low population density. Conducive climatic conditions e.g. rainfall of above 125cm. Abundance of swampy areas along river valley. Absence of export crops to compete with rice for land. Rice is the main crop of the zone for internal exchange so, it earns more income for the people.   Cash crops: These are crops grown for sale to provide money either for individuals or for the nation when they are exported. Some important cash (export) crops produced in Nigeria and where they are produced are: Cocoa: Akure, Ibadan, Abeokuta. Kola: Akure, Ibadan, Abeokuta. Rubber: Sapele, Benin City, Akure, Calabar. Oil Palm: Aba, Owerri, Portharcourt, Benin, Okitipupa. Groundnut: Kano, Kaduna, Bauchi, Kastina. Cotton: Zaria, Kaduna, Kano, Bauchi. Beniseed: Makurdi (Benue State). Cocoa: Cocoa is a tree crop grown mainly in the western part of Nigeria around Akure, Abeokuta and Ibadan. Cocoa is one of the most important export crops in Nigeria. Conditions Necessary for Cocoa Cultivation Physical Factors Cocoa requires an annual rainfall of between 125 –200cm. It requires an undulating and well-drained soil. It requires an average temperature of about 27˚C. It requires shade for the cocoa seedlings. It requires deep, clayey, rich and non-acid soils. Human Factors Availability of labour. Presence of good transport network. Favourable market for cocoa products. Mature or ripe cocoa pods are harvested with knife and cracked to remove the bean seeds which are later fermented and dried, graded and exported. Some are used locally by beverage industries to produce food drinks like bournvita, pronto, etc.   Oil Palm: Oil Palm is also a tree crop grown mainly in the eastern part of Nigerian around Aba, Owerri, Port Harcourt, Benin City (Edo State) and Okitipupa (Ondo State). Palm oil and palm kernel, the major products of oil palm are important export products in Nigeria. Conditions Necessary for Oil palm Cultivation Physical Factors Oil palm requires an average temperature of not less than 24˚C. It requires a heavy rainfall of 200-300cm per annum. It requires abundance of sunshine. It also requires abundance of sunshine. It also requires a deep loamy soil which is slightly acidic. Human Factors Availability of labour and good market. Good transportation network. Oil Palm takes 3-5 years to mature. The ripe fruits are fruits are harvested, boiled and with the aid of handscrew press or hand hydraulic press, the oil is extracted from the fruit which is later refined to get palm oil. The nuts are dried and cracked in order to get the palm kernel. Palm oil and palm kernel can then be consumed locally or exported to other countries. Groundnut: Groundnut is one of the important export crops grown in the north, especially in Kano, Zaria, Kaduna, Sokoto, Bauchi, etc. Conditions Necessary for Groundnut Production Groundnut requires a wide plain for easy cultivation. It requires a rainfall of 50-100cm per annum. It also requires a long dry season when the fruits can be dried and stored. It requires a loose sandy soil which makes planting and harvesting easy. Availability of cheap labour. Availability of a large market. Availability of transport such as roads and railway to move groundnuts to the sea port for shipment abroad. Matured and ripe groundnut pods are harvested, dried and packed with sacks which are later transported to the seaport for export or to the local market where they are sold for local consumption and use.   Importance of Agriculture Agriculture is one of the major sectors which contribute to the economic development of Nigeria. Its importance includes: Agriculture provides food in form of maize, rice, yam, beans, etc. for human consumption. Agriculture also provides employment for over 60% of Nigerians who work directly on the farm or farm related industries. Sale of agricultural products like yam, meat, egg, etc. enables the farmers to earn some form of income. The export of cash crops like cocoa, cotton, groundnut, palm oil enables the nation to earn foreign exchange. Agriculture provides raw materials for clothing and shelter which are obtained from cotton and timber respectively. Agriculture provides market for industrial goods like fertilizers, herbicides, farm machines and implements. Social amenities like water, electricity and good roads are provided where plantation agriculture exists, hence, the development of such places. Raw materials like cocoa, rubber, cotton, etc. are required by industries for various purposes.   Problems of Agriculture in Nigeria The following problems account for the poor development of Agriculture in Nigeria. These are: Lack of finance or credit facilities. Poor transportation network. Lack of storage and processing facilities. Inadequate land due to land tenure system. Lack of basic amenities like electricity and pipe borne water in rural areas. Use of crude tools and implements. Inadequate agricultural education and extension services. Problem of pests and diseases. Unpredictable climate. Negative attitude of the people towards farming.   Solutions to the Problems Loans should be given to the farmers. Roads should be constructed to link rural areas with urban centres. Storage and processing facilities should be provided at reduced rates. Farmers should use fertilizers to improve the fertility of the soil and productivity of their crops. Basic amenities should be provided to discourage rural-urban migration. Farmers should use irrigation system in periods of drought. Modern farm implements like tractors, ploughs, ridgers, harvesters, etc. should be used. Farmers should be trained to accept modern systems of farming.

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BUSH FALLOWING IN WEST AFRICA

Bush fallowing is a system of farming or the cultivation of one piece of land for some years and leaving it for some years with the aim of restoring fertility to the soil naturally but during this fallow period, the farmer cultivates another piece of land.   Favourable Conditions Necessary for Bush Fallowing Favourable conditions or factors which aid Bush fallowing in West Africa include: Abundance of large area of farmlands. Low population in the area. Low level of education of the farmers. Use of crude tools and implements. Low level of technology.   Characteristics or Features of Bush Fallowing Farming is done on a subsistence level i.e. farmers grow crops to feed themselves and their families. It involves the use of crude implements like cutlass and hoe. It is very common in rural areas with abundant farmlands. It involves small holdings of farmlands. Food crops like yam, cassava, maize, etc. are grown. Farmlands are left to fallow after one or two years of cultivation. A farmer returns to the farmland after a fallow period of 2 – 5 years. It uses slash or burn method for land preparations. It uses family labour. It does not involve the cultivation of cash crops like cocoa, rubber, oil palm, etc. Bush fallowing is practiced where population is very low. Produce is usually very low and there is little or none for sale. Pests and diseases are not controlled.   Land preparation: This involves the use of; Hoes and cutlasses. Bush burning/clearing. Clearing of burnt woods. Making of mounds or ridges for planting.   Types of Crops Grown Food crops are mainly grown. These include: Root and tuber crops e.g. yam, cassava, cocoyam, etc. Cereal (grain) crops e.g. rice, millet, maize, sorghum, etc. Berry e.g. tomato. Cash crops e.g. cotton, groundnut, etc.   Tools Used Crude and simple farm tools like cutlass, hoes, shovels, spade, axes, baskets, mattocks, etc. are commonly used.   Advantages of Bush Fallowing It aids the natural restoration of soil nutrients during the fallow period. It helps to control plants diseases and pests. It uses cheap family labour. It provides pastoral land for livestock animals. It checks soil erosions, leaching and weed growth. It requires low farm inputs like cutlass and hoe. It involves low capital investment i.e. it is cheap to operate. It ensures continuous sustenance during periods of crop failure. A farmer gets different crops from the same farm. It is easy to practice as low technology is required.   Disadvantages of Bush Fallowing It leads to wastage of land which could have been used by allowing it to lie fallow. It leads to land fragmentation due to increase in population. It allows for cultivation of only one seasonal crop like maize, rice, millet, etc. It does not lead to mechanization of farms i.e. it does not allow for large scale mechanized farming. It destroys valuable forest resources like timber. It results in poor yields resulting from shorter fallow period as population increases. It leads to soil erosion when soil is exhausted.   Bush Fallowing currently is fast declining in West Africa because of the following reasons: The population is fast increasing; hence, a reduction in the size of farmlands. The land is also becoming scarce due to increase in population. The land tenure system does not easily make land available for bush fallowing. The practice of mechanized agriculture now discourages bush fallowing. The advent or cultivation of cash crops no longer provides land for bush fallowing system. There is increase in the number of educated farmers who practice modern systems of farming as a result of access to research findings. There is now intensive use of fertilizers and manures. There is now improved farming systems e.g. crop rotation, mixed farming and plantation. There is increase in use of technology.

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FARM BIO-SECURITY

Farm bio-security is all about protecting people, animals, plants, and environment from pests and diseases. It includes trying to prevent new pests and diseases from spreading into the farm, and helping to control outbreaks too when it occurs on the farm. While robust response arrangements may be available at the state government levels to combat outbreaks, preventing pest, diseases and weed incursions into the farms generally, your farm bio-safety is a call to duty. Everybody associated with you farm need to know the – Particulars of Your Farm Bio-Safety – . Very farm protective measures to prevent spread of diseases should remain a farm priority.   How you can protect your animals and plants from pests and diseases Promotion of biosecurity at the farm level is enhanced through (a) the broad awareness engagement of all the community members,(b) understanding the disease and or pest vulnerability,  (c) the source and nature of threats, (d) knowledge of the skills base and who to call in difficult times(e) Inventory of the resources (f) available commitment from stakeholders to implement biosecurity measures, surveillance and reporting. (g) Reporting of unusual health occurrences by calling the your extension agent or your veterinarian Implementation of farm biosecurity underpins community biosecurity, which in turn underpins national biosecurity. If on-farm measures are supported by community based measures, a coordinated regional framework for biosecurity can be achieved.   VACCINE COLD CHAIN HANDLING Common Vaccines used in Nigerian livestock production The National Veterinary Research Institute (NVRI) Vom is responsible for the production of vaccines against livestock diseases in Nigeria. The disease for which vaccines are available in Nigeria are:   (i)             Contagious Bovine Pleuroneumonia(CBPP)   (ii)           Rinderpest   (iii)          Haemorrhagic Septiceamia(HS)   (iv)          Blackquater(BQ)   (v)            Anthrax   (vi)          Brucellocesis     Vaccine Handling   Vaccines are delicate biological commodity and can be a source of danger either to the farm workers or even to the animals when it is poor handled.  It is supposed to be handled by skill workers that know how to manage the particular vaccine. The proper handling of vaccine plays a major role in the success of all vaccination programme. The procedures involved include:   (i)        Maintenance and handling of Vaccine cold Chain   A practical method of maintaining a cold chain involves the use of thermo-flasks with ice pack. The flasks are packed with ice and the vaccines stocked into a Santana leather is inserted and covered again with more ice. It is advisable to cover the ice with cotton wool before sealing the flask. The thermo-flask so properly packed and sealed can maintain temperature of 4oC for about 72 hours.   The maintenance of cold chain is very necessary because higher temperatures will completely denature the vaccine thereby inhibiting their ability to illicit any antibody production to confer immunity against the disease. It is also important that you veterinarian teach everybody working on the farm to know how to identify vaccines that the cold chain has been broken before it is used on the farm.  This can be done by a five (5) minute video documentary on Vaccine Cold Chain Handling.   (ii)       Vaccination   Before commencing a vaccination in a farm, the herd health status prior to the current vaccination regime should be established and documented. A proper medical and management history is required to establish the reasons for vaccination request, date of last vaccination, types of vaccines administered before and the incidence of any infectious disease in the locality. The animals should be clinically inspected and examined to eliminate the risks of vaccinating unhealthy animals. It is equally important to observe the protocols stated above to avoid the vaccination of animals already vaccinated against a particular disease condition before the elapse of the duration of immunity. The vaccination of animals already infected by the disease for which the vaccination request was made will also be avoided. Animals should only be vaccinated after you are convinced of the – herd health status – . Vaccination of infected animals will further aggravate the disease condition so it is necessary to treat all infected animals before vaccination.   (ii)       Observation of Vaccine Recommendation Note that vaccination of animals is the exclusive preserve of the train veterinarians or animal health workers. Vaccines are biological which must be handled with extreme care especially during reconstitution as some of the livestock diseases for which the vaccines are made are transmissible to human (zoonotic).The skilled worker administering the vaccines must observe proper vaccine reconstitution, dose, route ofvaccine administration, the expiry date and the vaccine preservation recommendations.   The most convenient diluent is normal saline solution. The underlined procedures would aid in diluent preparation:   –   Obtain amber colored bottle used to package 100mls of oxytetracycline   –   Remove the seal, wash thoroughly and allow to dry   –   Obtain normal saline drip from your local chemist and measure out 100mls into the bottle   –   In remote locations, boiled clean water for about 30 minutes and allow to cool before you measure out 100ml into each bottle.   –   Seal the bottle using the stopper and tape to prevent stopper from coming off.   Identification of Vaccinated Animals During vaccination, a herd that is not properly restrained may cause chaos and mixed up of vaccinated and unvaccinated animals. It can be very challenging. The following methods are recommended for tracking animals during vaccination.   (i)             Ear notching – this is a historical method of identifying vaccinated livestock here in Nigeria. It involves the use of an ear notch to identify vaccinated animals. It is a simple method of identifying individual animals. Its disadvantages include distraction of the animal appearance causes bleeding and if not properly treated with iodine or other antiseptics may lead to infection and fly bite during the fly season.   (ii)           Vaccination Certificate – Currently every herd vaccinated should be given vaccination certificate indicating the type of vaccine administered, the date of administration, the herd owners name and address. The vaccine batch number and the name of the establishment involved in the vaccination exercises. The drawback is the inability of individual animals to be identified.     Latent Period before Immunity The latent period is the period within which the animal vaccinated is immunized. For most vaccine it is 2 weeks. It is advisable to instruct herd owners to restrict movement of cattle for at least 2 weeks post vaccination to allow the immune status of the animal to become developed     Problem Encountered After Vaccination It is worthy to note that some of the problems encountered after vaccination arose due partly to non-adherence to the laid down vaccination protocols.   (i)             Vaccine Failure – this is the inability of a vaccine to illicit immune response following vaccination thereby making the animals susceptible to attack by the agent the vaccine is supposed to confer immunity against. Vaccine failure may be due to the improper maintenance of the cold chin, use of expires vaccines, exposure of vaccine to sunlight and improper vaccine reconstitution.   (ii)           Post Vaccination Reaction – this is an adverse tissue reaction observed following improper administration of CBPP vaccine for example. It is the inflammation of tissue and is manifested by swellings (usually firm) at the site of injection. It occurs when the vaccine is deposited inside the skin or inside the muscle tissues rather than under the skin.   (iii)          Vaccine Break – this is an undesirable effect in which the vaccine produces the disease it is supposed to confer immunity against. This is usually a manufacturer – s error due to improper vaccine production error. When it occur, it is important to note the batch numbers of the vaccine, so that the vaccine may be investigated in the case of vaccine breaks. Also note that vaccination of sick animals will also present as vaccine break and will further aggravate the disease condition so it is necessary to treat all infected animals before vaccination.

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EROSION CONTROL TECHNIQUES AND WEATHER INFORMATION UTILIZATION

Erosion control techniques are fundamental for the protection of water quality. Soil stabilization and erosion control practices are needed and should be used in areas where soil is exposed and natural vegetation is inadequate. Bare ground should be covered, typically with grass seed and some form of matting or mulch. This will help prevent erosion and subsequent movement of sediment into streams, lakes and wetlands. Erosion control measures need to be implemented immediately following construction and every time an area is disturbed. Soil erosion can be controlled by adopting land management practices and also by changing the pattern of some human activities which accelerate soil erosion. Erosion control is as well refers to coping or cropping techniques used exclusively with a view to reducing runoff and erosion damage.   Erosion Control Techniques Five main techniques that can help in controlling erosion are as follows: (i) Contour Farming (ii) Strip Cropping (iii) Terracing (iv) Gully Reclamation (v) Shelter Belts.   (i) Contour Farming: Contour farming may be defined as ploughing, seeding, cultivating and harvesting across the slope, rather than with it. This simply entails making sure that cropping techniques follow contour lines. Soil roughness (clods and small hollows) must be laid perpendicular to the slope, so that the eventual runoff sheet is slowed as much as possible. The method is effective only on gentle slopes: the P (or erosion control practices) factor will be 0.5 on slopes between 1 and 8%, 0.6 on 8 to 12% slopes, 0.8 on 17 to 20% slopes, and close to 1 on slopes steeper than 25%. In other words, the steeper the slope, the less soil roughness can hold back water. A variant consists of alternating crops in contour strips, thus combining the above effect with that of rotating crops with varying degrees of sensitivity to erosion.   (ii) Strip Cropping: On land with a decided slope, planting crops on contour strips will be an effective erosion determent. For effective control the width of the contour strip should vary inversely with the length of the slope. Strip cropping should be combined with crop rotation so that a strip planted to a soil depleting, erosion-facilitating corn crop one year will be sown to a soil enriching and protecting strip of legumes the next.   (iii) Terracing: The practice of terracing has been common in ancient China. The flat, step-like bench terraces are now not useful. The modern terrace is an embankment of earth constructed across a slope in such a way as to control water run-off and minimize erosion. To be effective, terrace must check water flow before it attains sufficient velocity to loosen and transport soil.   (iv) Gully Reclamation: Gullies are danger signals that indicate land is eroding rapidly and may become a wasteland. If a gully is small it may be ploughed in and then seeded to quick-growing crops like barley, maize, wheat in order to check erosion. In case of severe gullying, small check dams of manure and straw constructed at 5 metre intervals may be effective because silt will collect behind the dams and gradually fill in the channel. Earthen, stone and even concrete dams may be built at intervals along the gully. Once dams have been constructed and water run-off has been restrained, soil may be stabilized.   (v) Shelter Belts: These are the – green belts – of trees which help to break the force of strong winds and thus, prevent or cut to a minimum the blowing away of the loose top-soil. In areas where wind erosion is more, rows of trees may be helpful to check the flow of winds. Apart from this, these trees will also add colour to the landscape and help to control the desert spread. Soil blowing away can also be controlled if local shrubs and small trees are planted in a systematic way. Even useful trees can be planted and harvested after a regular interval of two to three years.   Other measures of soil conservation are:   –       Expansion of vegetative cover and protective afforestation;   –       controlled grazing;   –       Flood control;   –       Prohibition of shifting cultivation;   –       Proper land utilization;   –       Maintenance of soil fertility;   –       Land reforms, reclamation of wasteland;   –       Establishment of soil research institute and training of soil scientists;   –       Effective agencies for soil management;   –       Break up channels. A channel is a spot where running water cuts into the soil and forms a rut. By filling the channel with compost or manure, helps preventing further erosion;   –       Build a check dam or dike to stabilize the soil or gully bottom and   –       Reduce the flow of water into gullies.   WEATHER INFORMATION UTILIZATION Increasing economic pressures to optimize farm enterprise inputs and environmental concerns related to the stewardship of our land, water, and air resources are motivating those involved in agricultural production to be more sensitive to the impact of weather and climate variability. Delivery of timely and high quality agricultural weather information has become an important function of many state extension services. Nigerian agriculture is heavily reliant on rainfed production even after realizing the full irrigation potential, more than half of the cultivated area will continue to remain rainfed. Rainfed agriculture will need to support about 60% human population, two third livestock population and contributing over 80% to the food grain production of the country. But it is risky, vulnerable, diverse, and complex and under invested. Appropriate climatic information enhances small holder farmer – s ability to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change. It is also argued that to avoid disastrous consequences, fundamental changes in agricultural operations should go hand in hand with changing climate. This is because, timely updated information of weather and climate scenarios helps farmers to adjust their farming plans in accordance with weather and climate patterns of the growing seasons.   Concept of Weather Weather simply refers to day to day meteorological condition, especially temperature, cloudiness and rainfall affecting a specific place. The growth of crop and their development are primarily governed by environmental conditions of soil and weather. The qualitative and quantitative improvements in crop production are intimately related to the prevailing conditions. The weather elements include temperature, precipitation and sunshine which are influencing the crop growth and yield. Weather assume significance in nearly every phase of activity from selection of crop varieties, time of sowing, transplanting, scheduling of irrigation, time of fertiliser application, using pesticides, harvesting process and storage decided by weather. Adverse weather warning for the same would be useful to farmer for estimating the nature of the impending attacks based on the current conditions and past experiences. So, that they can take suitable and remedial action and reduces losses. Temperature is important weather variable influencing crop production directly and indirectly. According to World Meteorological Organization (WMO) over the ten years from 2001 to 2010, global temperatures have averaged 0.46 – C above the 1961-1990 average, and are the highest ever recorded for a 10-year period since the beginning of instrumental climate records. Source and channels of weather information:   Sources of Weather Information In Nigeria agro meteorological information disseminated through different channels and sources by various ministries and organisations involved for betterment of farming community and agricultural production. The Nigerian Meteorological Organization (NIMET) established a network of observatories all over the country and forecasting the weather information. Besides this general interest farmer – s weather bulletins are also issued, indicating precipitation, temperature and humidity and other farm weather related information. This information is disseminated in different regional languages through radio, television and the internet. The Agricultural Development projects (ADPs), universities and research institutions in different states also maintain network of agro meteorological observatories across the country. The ADPs prepare weather calendars which helps farmers to plan agricultural operation so as to take advantages of the favourable weather and mitigating the effects of adverse weather.   Utilization of weather information Many aspects of the weather are critical to the agriculture community. Farmers must monitor observations to aid in their farm operations as listed below:   –       The forecast of the weather events helps for suitable planning of farm   –       It helps in to undertake or withheld the sowing operation   –       It helps in determining the start and end of farm operations.   –       It also helps in to take measures to fight frost.   –       It helps in transportation and storage of food grains.   –       Helps in management of cultural operations like plugging harrowing hoeing etc.   –       It helps in measures to protect livestock.   Weather Forecasting And Its Classification Weather forecast: Means any advance information about the probable weather in future, which is obtained by evaluating the present and past meteorological conditions of the atmosphere is called weather forecast.   Agricultural weather forecast: Forecasting of weather elements viz sunshine hours, occurrence of dew, relative humidity, rainfall, temperature, winds etc. Which are important in agriculture and for farming operations is known as agricultural forecast.In agricultural weather forecasting the advance information of weather elements like distribution of rain fall, warming for heavy rain fall, temperature change important special hazardous  weather like if thunderstorm hailstorm, show or frost, sky cover, winds, humidity, dew drought, evaporation rate etc is provided.   Classification of weather forecasting:   Short range forecast (SRF): It is based on synoptic situation prevailing at the time of forecasting and is valid     up to 3 days or 72 hrs. and are issued twice a day.   Medium range forecast (MRF): Forecasting of meteorological elements over different agro climatic zones for periods ranging from3-10 days is known as medium range forecast.   Long range forecast (LRF): The forecast valid for more than 10 days (i.e. a month or a season is knows as long range forecast.

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CLIMATE CHANGE AND CLIMATE SMART AGRICULTURE

Agriculture is an important sector of the Nigerian economy. In addition to providing Nigerians with much of their food, crops, livestock, and fisheries make significant contributions to the national economy and GDP. It remains the main source of livelihood for most rural communities. It is the source of raw materials used in the processing industries as well as a source of foreign exchange earnings for the country. The sustainability of the environment to provide all life support systems and the materials for fulfilling all developmental aspirations of man and animal is dependent on the suitability of the climate which is undergoing constant changes. Climate change and agriculture are interrelated processes, both of which take place on a global scale. Climate change affects agriculture and agriculture also affects climate change. Past climate can no longer  guide any agricultural investment design.   Agriculture contributes to climate change by (1)      anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs), and (2)      by the conversion of non-agricultural land (e.g., forests) into agricultural land.   Agriculture, forestry and land-use change is reported to have contributed around 20 to 25% of global annual emissions in 2010. The climate has always been changing naturally, the current impact of human activities is causing the climate to change in an unnatural way and at a faster pace than ever before. This unnatural and human induced climate change is problematic as it is causing shifts in the normal climatic conditions such as rainfall and temperature, which in turn is placing pressure on the planet – s natural environment and having negative impacts on the planet – s people. Climate change is happening because humans are releasing and thus increasing the amount of heat-trapping gases in the earth – s atmosphere called – greenhouse gases – . Greenhouse gases occur naturally in the atmosphere and are important as they make the earth – s temperature warm enough for life to exist. Without these heat trapping gases the planet would be far too cold making it uninhabitable. However, as humans increase the amount of these gases in our atmosphere, more and more heat is trapped which in turn is causing the climate to change.In particular climate change is having a significant impact on agriculture, Climate change affects agriculture in a number of ways, including through changes in average temperatures, rainfall, and climate extremes (e.g., heat waves); changes in pests and diseases; changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide and ground-level ozone concentrations; changes in the nutritional quality of some foods; and changes in sea leve. Agriculture and fisheries are highly dependent on specific climate conditions. Trying to understand the overall effect of climate change on the nation – s food supply can be difficult. Moderate increases in temperature and carbon dioxide (CO2) can be beneficial for some crops in some places. But to realize these benefits, nutrient levels, soil moisture, water availability, and other conditions must also be met.However, more severe warming, floods, and drought may reduce yields.Changes in the frequency and severity of droughts and floods could pose challenges for farmers and cattle rearers. Livestock may be at risk, both directly from heat stress and indirectly from reduced quality of their food supplyFisheries will be affected by changes in water temperature that shift species ranges, make waters more hospitable to invasive species, and change lifecycle timing, which could disrupt ecosystems. Overall, climate change could make it more difficult to grow crops, raise animals, and catch fish in the same ways and same places as people have done in the past. The effects of climate change also need to be considered along with other evolving factors that affect agricultural production, such as changes in farming practices and technology. Since agriculture in Nigeria is mostly rain-fed and small-scale, food crop production in all the regions of Nigeria is heavily dependent on timing and length ofthe rainy season.It follows therefore that any change in climate is bound to impact its productivity in particular and other socio-economic activities in the country. This subjects the regions to a pronounced seasonality with four to six months of rainy season, in which most of the rain-fed food crop production takes place, and six to eight months of dry season with no opportunities for non-irrigated food production. Food production among small-scale farmers is, therefore, very dependent on the reliability of the onset of rains and the distribution of rainfall during the rainy season. Rain-fed agriculture is one of the most vulnerable livelihood and economic sectors to climate change in these regions.The impact could, however, be measured in terms of effects on crop growth, availability of soil water, soil erosion, incident of pest and diseases, sea level rises and decrease in soil fertility. Direct effects of climate variables such as air, temperature, humidity, wind speed and other climate factors influence animal performance such as growth, milk production, wool production and reproduction. Climate can also affect the quantity and quality of feed stuffs such as pasture, forage, and grain and also the severity and distribution of livestock diseases and parasite.Climate change is therefore a fundamental threat to global food security, sustainable development.   Some Key Words   Weather: The specific conditions of the atmosphere at a particular place and time, measured in terms of variables that include temperature, rainfall, cloudiness, humidity, air pressure, and wind.   Climate: The long-term average of conditions in the atmosphere, ocean, and ice sheets and sea ice described by statistics, such as means and extremes. Climate is generally defined as the average state of the atmosphere for a given time scale (hour, day, month, season, year, decade and so forth) and generally for a specified geographical region.   Climate Change: This is any change in climate over time, whether due to natural variability or as a result of human activity.It refers to any significant change in measures of climate (such as temperature, precipitation, or wind) lasting for an extended period (decades or longer). Climate change may result from – natural factors, such as changes in the sun’s intensity or slow changes in the Earth’s orbit around the sun or natural processes within the climate system (e.g. changes in ocean circulation); human activities that change the atmosphere’s composition (e.g. through burning fossil fuels) and the land surface (e.g. deforestation, reforestation, urbanization, desertification, etc.   Global warming: is the rising average temperature of the earth.   Adaptation to Climate Change is defined as: An adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities.   Mitigation: Actions to reduce the sources or increase the sinks of greenhouse gases. It includes strategies to reduce greenhouse gas sources and emissions and enhancing greenhouse gas sinks.   Impacts/ Implications of Climate Change on Nigerian Agriculture Climate change is already affecting agriculture and is expected to further impact directly and indirectly food production. There is a growing consensus in the scientific literature that in the coming decades the world will witness higher temperatures and changing precipitation levels. Increase of mean temperature; changes in rain patterns; increased variability both in temperature and rain patterns; changes in water availability; the frequency and intensity of – extreme events – ; sea level rise and salinization; perturbations in ecosystems, all will have profound impacts on agriculture, forestry and fisheries. These effects are unevenly distributed across the world. Future climate change will likely negatively affect crop production in low latitude countries, while effects in northern latitudes may be positive or negative. The effects of this will lead to low/poor agricultural products.   Climate change affects food and water resources that are critical for livelihood in Africa where much of the population especially the poor, rely on local supply system that are sensitive to climate variation. Disruptions of existing food and water systems will have devastating implications for development and livelihood. These are expected to add to the challenges climate change already poses for poverty eradication. Climate change will probably increase the risk of food insecurity for some vulnerable groups, such as the poor.   Historical Climate Variability and Change: There have been changes in Nigeria – s rainfall and temperature over the past decade. Average precipitation per year has decreased significantly in Nigeria by 3.5 mm per month per decade between 1960-2006..Between 1941 and 1970, only patches of the country around the extreme Northwest and extreme Northeast experienced late onset of rains. From 1971 to 2000, late onset of rains had spread to most parts, leaving only a narrow band in the middle of the country with normal conditions. In the same way, only a small patch of the country in the South west recorded early cessation of rains between 1941 and 1970, while from 1971 to 2000, early cessation of rains had covered most of the country. The combination of late onset and early cessation shortened the length of the rainy season in most parts of the country. Between 1941 and 2000, annual rainfall decreased by 2 – 8 mm across most of the country, but increased 2 – 4 mm in a few places, most significantly around the coastal South east. With respect to temperature changes from 1941 to 2000, there was evidence of long-term temperature increase in most parts of the country. Average maximum temperatures have been increasing in Nigeria with maximum temperatures ranging between 31-33 – C.The central eastern axis showed slight cooling. Average temperature at the extreme northeast, extreme northwest and extreme southwest increased by 1.4 – 1.9 oC. Evidence has shown that climate change is already affecting crop yields in many countries.  This is particularly true in low-income countries, where climate is the primary determinant of agricultural productivity and adaptive capacities are low. Many African countries, which have their economies largely based on weather-sensitive agricultural productions systems like Nigeria, are particularly vulnerable to climate change.  This vulnerability has been demonstrated by the devastating effects of recent flooding in the Niger Delta region of the country and the various prolonged droughts that are currently witnessed in some parts of Northern region.Floods are a recurring natural hazard in Nigeria and have become more frequent throughout the country in the last couple of decades. Droughts negatively impact the socio-economic growth of Nigeria and are projected to become more severe in the future as a result of climate change. The northeast region of Nigeria is increasingly becoming an arid environment at a very fast rate per year occasioned by fast reduction in the amount of surface water, flora and fauna resources on land. The southern area of Nigeria largely known for high rainfall is currently confronted by irregularity in the rainfall and temperature is gradually increasing in the Guinea savannah zone of the country. In addition, the northern zone faces the threat of desert encroachment.   Agriculture – s impact on climate change The agriculture sector has to produce more food and it will be certainly impacted by climate change. The issue is how and to what extent agriculture and food systems can contribute to climate change mitigation without compromising food and nutrition security. Agriculture (crop and livestock) directly accounts for over tenpercent of global GHG emissions based on activities carried out in the fields and with livestock. Also, agriculture is a major driver of deforestation, which approimately accounts for an additional over ten percent of global GHG emissions. Finally, within food systems, reductions of emissions in some areas could lead to increases elsewhere. The main direct sources of GHG emissions in the agricultural sector are not only carbon dioxide (CO2). Agriculture is a source of nitrous oxide (N2O), accounting for 58 percent of total emissions, mostly by soils and through the application of fertilizers, and of methane (CH4), accounting for 47 percent of total emissions, essentially from livestock and rice cultivation. These emissions are dependent on natural processes and agricultural practices, which makes them more difficult to control and measure. On the other hand, agriculture is a key sector that, along with the forestry sector, if managed effectively. can lead to biological carbon capture and…

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