Rwanda Meteorology Agency last week called on farmers across the country to start planting crops, warning that the current rainy season will be shorter than usual.
According to weather forecasters, the next three months will see normal or below-normal rain in many parts of the country.
They say the rain will end abruptly in late May or early June, owing to La Niña, a weather phenomenon that results in the cooling of water in the equatorial pacific at irregular intervals.
Predictions by the country’s meteorology agency have previously been contested, but the officials at the agency say that their forecasts in the recent past have been more than 80 per cent accurate.
Whatever the case one thing is indisputable: Weather patterns have increasingly been hard to predict and people are relying on technology to tell what lies ahead. Thanks to climate change, weather patterns as we knew them previously have changed drastically.
As such, reliance on predictions by professional forecasters has never been more relevant.
Still, it is one thing for farmers to be warned of what lies ahead and advised on what to do, and another for them to actually respond accordingly.
Farmers need more than just weather information to get prepared. They need to access quality seed varieties, advisory and technical services on irrigation and other agricultural extension services in time, among others.
Local government authorities and other stakeholders, such as Rwanda Agriculture Board, need to swing into action and work closely with farmers to ensure that they plant their crops in a timely manner and observe good agricultural practices to ensure good harvests.
If professionals and authorities worked closely with farmers across the country from the start of the planting season through harvest and post-harvest seasons, chances of farmers incurring losses would significantly be reduced.