First rain: Don urges farmers not to rush to plant

Guardian - February 19, 2015

Prof. Simon Ugwu, former Dean of Faculty of Agriculture, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, on Thursday urged farmers not to rush into planting with the first rain.
Ugwu told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Nsukka that the crops planted with the first rain might become roasted as a result of heat if the rain did not continue.
“If any farmer wants to use this first rain to plant, such farmer should ensure the storage of enough water to water their crops if the rain did not continue," he said.
He advised farmers to wait for another rain that would penetrate the soil properly before planting their crops.
Some farmers in the town had informed NAN that they were set to commence planting of crops, following the Wednesday's first rain of the year in Nsukka, Enugu state.
The farmers said they were prepared to start planting in their farms and ensure storage of enough water if the rain did not continue.
Mrs Helen Ezeugwu, a farmer, said she would go into her farm to plant maize.
“That rain was heavy and I know it penetrated into the soil.
“I know the rain will continue but if it does not, I know maize will survive as it does not require much water to grow,’’ Ezeugwu said.
Mr Paul Nnadozie, another farmer, told NAN that he would only plant maize on his farm for now and would wait for another rain before planting cassava and yam.
“As soon as the next rain falls, I will then plant cassava and yam.
“I believe the maize will grow without much problem," Nnadozie said.
Also, Mr Emmanuel Eze, a farmer, thanked God for the first rain on Wednesday, adding that he had cleared the bush waiting for the rain to start planting for the year.
“With this heavy first rain, I will start planting maize, yam and cassava in my farm though I would store enough water to water my crops if the rain did not continue.
“I thank God for giving us the first rain. I am very grateful to God for His kindness.
‘'I will start planting in my farm though I will store water in case the rain did not continue,” Eze said. (NAN)