Winter 2019: Experts to help farmers

Experts from West African countries, Chad and Cameroon invite farmers, pastoralists, authorities, projects, NGOs and farmers organizations in this area to support the deployment of techniques to increase crop yields, using fertilizers (organic and mineral fertilizers) and the introduction of high-yield varieties to seize all opportunities offered by the rainy season, in a context of climate change.

In a statement issued last April at the end of the 2019 Forum on Seasonal Forecasts of Agro-hydro-climatic Characteristics of the Rainy Season for Sudanese and Sahelian Areas (PRESASS, 2019), held in Nouakchott, Mauritania, they called for the strengthening of mechanisms to supervise farmers, monitor and respond to climate-related risks; to provide farmers with easy access to improved seeds that can complete their cycles before the end of the season, to support and promote the communication of climate information, including seasonal and climate forecasts, to agricultural producers and other users.

The scientists also recommended that “priority be given to species and varieties that are resistant to water shortages; diversify income-generating activities and promote market gardening and agroforestry” to make up for the production shortfall that could affect areas exposed to drought episodes.

According to experts, the promotion of irrigation and rational management of water resources, and the adoption of agricultural techniques for water conservation, especially on hard soils (Zaï, half-moons, benches, stone lines, etc.) will also help to enhance opportunities during the 2019 season.

“The floodplains of the lower Niger Delta in Nigeria and those downstream of the Manantali dam in Senegal will indeed be favorable to irrigated crops; take advantage of the regulation, by the Akosombo and Bui dams in Ghana, of excess water that may come from the upper basin,” the Forum’s statement said.

The 2019 PRESASS Forum was organized by the AGRHYMET Regional Centre of CILSS, the Inter-State Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel, the African Centre for the Application of Meteorology and Development (ACMAD), the National Meteorological and Hydrological Directorates of Mauritania, in collaboration with experts from West African countries, Chad and Cameroon in charge of monitoring and developing agro-hydro-climatic information.