Photo source: GNA

For Ghanaian farmers, the seasonal rainfall forecast for 2022 raises a red flag that may affect their crops during the rainy season.

The Ghana Meteorological Agency (GMet) released its annual rainfall prediction on March 9, 2022 at a time when farmers are about to start growing crops

It shows that late Onset dates are expected over most places in the country with an early dry spell between 8 to 12 days for most places in the Southern part of the country.

The prediction also indicates the East Coast and most parts of the North will, however, experience l, between 12 and 15 days of a dry spell (long dry spell).

The total cumulative rainfall amount for March April May (MAM) both in time and space will be near normal for most places in Ghana. However, most southeastern parts will experience near normal to below normal rainfall for the MAM season.

It says this doesn’t include the northern part of the country because MAM & AMJ is not the peak of the season there.

According to GMet, April, May, June (AMJ) is expected to have near-normal rainfall in most parts of the country with below normal to near normal rainfall in the east coast.

Deputy Director for research and applied meteorology at GMet, Francisca Martey, tells JoyNews Mahmud Mohammed-Nurudeen, the forecasts provide the general public with early warning information for timely preparedness for potential hazards.

Farmers are highly encouraged to use seeds that are tolerant to drought to mitigate the impact on their crops.

Climate change has continued to place farmers across sub-Saharan Africa at a risk. Experts say countries must focus more on climate-resilient agriculture to save smallholder farmers from weather-related disasters.

It will be recalled that, at Centre for Climate Change and Food Security experts dialogue on the Ghanaian Maize Crisis in 2021, official at Gmet, Jeremiah Lazia told participants that there were longer dry spells within the raining season for the 2020 period which was part of Gmet forecast.

“Intra-seasonally, the rains show variability rather than diminishing,” he says. Mr Lazia revealed GMET is also collaborating with the University of Ghana and Makerere University to come out with Weather Information Dissemination System to bring the interface to the farmers in local languages.

Deputy Director of Agric at MoFA, Dr Solomon Gyan Ansah, stated that there should be a policy for farmers to have water harvesting structures to address cases like that of Ayuba and others. “We really have to invest in irrigation, including water harvesting structures”

He said valuable information should be sent to farmers whether in person or electronically to address problems of drought. He encouraged farmers to invest in early maturity varieties.

In the 2021 dropping season, climate change-induced dry spells came to haunt farmers. In the Ashanti Region, some farmers in Ejura witnessed a repeat of dry weather conditions that hit them in the previous year.

These signals threaten the food security of a country like Ghana whose economy depends mainly on rain-fed agriculture.

The recent dry weather conditions are changing the general perception of basic school teacher like Fuuseini Issah of agriculture.

Mr. Issah faced harvest losses as a result of unpredictable changing weather patterns in 2021. At the time I visited his farm at Ejura, Fuseini stared at a huge loss.

Switching from rain-fed agriculture to irrigation remains a challenge to many farmers.

Assistant Director of Climate Services at the Kenyan Meteorological department recommends effective mitigation and adaptation measures.

Dr Richard Muita wants governments and stakeholders to consider water harvesting systems among others.

Unpredicted weather conditions are more likely to affect Africa than other continents. However, a properly planned mitigation and adaptation process can change the story.