By Gladys Nweke
Farmers in southern Nigeria are used to long period of dry season after Christmas before rains would set in later from March. The harmattan starts the year, heat or dry season follows, before rains gradually join. Plants seem to be used to the seasons and fruiting goes with it. Now, rains seem start 2019. Thus, farmers in Rivers State have blamed it on climate change which thsy said has ushered in the unexpected rainfall in the state.
Making this known at Isiokpo, Ikwerre local government area of Rivers state, a farmer, Mr. Isreal Amadi, said the early rainfall would have a negative effect on the traditional farming routine.
He stated that this period was set aside for sharing and allocating portions of farmlands to the beneficiaries at a piece of land deemed matured for cultivation and approved by the youths and elders of the family.
Within this January and February, cutting of bush would be at its peak, as scanty rainfall would set in and by ending of February to early March, burning of bush and planting of corn, vegetables, cassava among others, must have been completed before the outburst of heavy rains, he explained.
According to him, the early rainfall this year raises a lot of fears that farming season might be distorted with its adverse effect on food supply in the state.
Rivers State largely depends on subsistent farming as against mechanised and large scale farming practised in some states of the federation.
The Manager of Jubes Integrated Farms, Mr. Jonas Ude, said subsistent farmers have cause to worry about the early rainfall due to the fact that they depend and are guarded by nature, and all their traditional farming routines are set upon the season; so any shift in this regard affects them grievously.