Prof. Charles Igwe, of the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) has advised farmers not to rush into planting crops as it may spell doom for them.
Igwe, a professor of Soil Science and the present Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Administration in UNN, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Nsukka on Thursday.
The professor said that based on Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NIMET) prediction, that there might be a dry period after the first and second initial rains.
He noted that lack of water in the soil could make crops planted in the South East to roast as a result of heat occasioned by climate change.
“Based on NIMET prediction this year that there may be dry period after first and second rain in the South East, it is not advisable for farmers to start planting crops now to avoid heat roasting the crops.
“The happiness of every farmer is to see his planted crops germinate and grow very well so that he will have bumper harvest.
“They should wait till the month of May to plant their crops when NIMET says steady rain will start,” he said.
The DVC said that farmers could start clearing the bush and wait for tillage and planting when there is steady rainfall.
“Farmers can start clearing of bush and other activities but tillage and planting should only start when there is steady rainfall,” he said.
He said that farmers with supplementary forms of irrigation could go ahead to plant vegetables as this is best time to plant vegetables.
“Farmers that have pump water, stream or other form of supplementary irrigations can go ahead and plant vegetables and crops in their farms provided they have enough water for the farm.
“With supplementary irrigation, the farmer will be able to supply the crops with water requirement and the crops will have normal growth and good yield.
“For farmers who have supplementary irrigation, this is the best time to plant vegetables and make profit from it, as vegetables cost more now because of its scarcity in markets,” he said.
Igwe urged Nigerians to always pay special attention to agriculture to achieve food security and increase the country’s foreign exchange.