From Our Correspondent – Minna
The Executive Director, National Cereals Research Institute (NCRI), Badeggi in Niger state, Dr. Aliyu Umar, has advised farmers not to rush into planting crops after the first rain as doing so would only damage the crops.
Umar also advised farmers to embrace mixed cropping due to its inevitable advantages over other forms of cropping because, “Planting mixture of crops minimizes damage in the event of loss or disasters, the loss will be minimal”.
Aliyu who gave the hint when he spoke to journalists further explained that planting after the first rains could be dangerous because crops planted then might become roasted as a result of heat associated with scorching sunshine if the rains did not continue.
To prevent loses, the NCRI Executive Director encourage farmers to wait for follow up rains or when the rain fully sets in before commencing the years’ cropping season or planting of their crops to be on safer side.
Though the distribution of the rains across the country so far is good, the NCRI boss however argued that farmers must exercise cautioned in planting as according to him, first rains can be deceptive to believe that the rainy season have started fully.
“If any farmer wants to use this first rain to plant, such farmer should ensure storage of enough water to water their crops if the rain did not continue immediately to avoid crops being roasted by scorching sunshine that will follow”.
Dr. Aliyu further clarified that, “It is not advisable to plant with the first rain, but I would rather advice that farmers prepare their farms ahead of the rainy and planting season, by avoiding to rush into planting after the first rain”.
The first rains means it is time for farmers to start clearing their farms or prepare grounds for those of tem who have not done that but not to start planting crops, adding that, “It does not mean they should commence planting immediately”.
Encouraging farmers to purchase farming inputs from reputable sources to avoid wasting their monies on adulterated ones increasing in their numbers across markets, Aliyu said it is better to have the right inputs than adulterated ones that would yield little or no good results.
The Executive Director however assured that the NCRI would do all that is within its powers to ensure provision of quality seeds to boost agricultural production and bumper harvest that would guarantee food security in Nigeria in 2023 farming season.
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