It takes more than rainfall to have a bountiful harvest.

Every facet of the agricultural value chain depends on rainfall. All key players within the agricultural ecosystem rely directly on farming for their operations, be it the manufacturers of agricultural produces who are dependent on the farm for raw materials or the intermediaries who transport, distribute, or trade Agric equipment and products. But one of the major prerequisites for a successful farming season is rainfall.

You must have noticed that there have been a few occasions of rainfall in the last few weeks. That signals a change in weather conditions, from the dry to the wet season. Irrespective of how you feel about this, it is definitely good news for farmers and other stakeholders within the agricultural space because rainfall is a prelude to the beginning of a new farming season.

However, depending on the crop, the downside is that the amount and frequency of rainfall are usually inadequate. For instance, Meteorological experts project that rainfall for 2022 will last between 250-300 days in the Southern parts of Nigeria and 100 to 200 days in the North, while the volume of annual rainfall is expected to range from 390mm in the North to over 2790mm in the South.

There must be completely favorable weather conditions for a genuinely productive planting season. Interestingly, what qualifies as completely favorable depends largely on the nature of the crop in question. While cash crops like cotton, grown widely in northern and southwestern Nigeria, require 500-700mm of rainfall to flourish, others like sugarcane need 300 mm of annual rain to thrive.

This outcome implies that in cases where crops require more rain than is readily provided by nature, farmers must turn to artificial water-supply methods such as irrigation to have a successful farming experience. This raises the question: if rainfall alone is not enough to ensure a successful farming season, what more do farmers need?

For one, farmers need adequate funding and risk mitigation structures to navigate the agricultural space’s inconsistencies successfully. Some of the most probable risk mitigation strategies they must employ include established pest control systems, prevention of cattle encroachment, and functional storage facilities. I will touch on each factor in the following paragraphs.

Funding amplifies rainfall

At this point, you must be wondering what the relationship between rainfall and funding is. It’s simple when rain is inadequate, farmers must employ artificial water supply methods, irrigation being one of the most common and effective. For a successful farming season, adequate funding is a non-negotiable prerequisite. With sufficient financing, even natural farming mishaps like minimal or inadequate bouts of rainfall will have little or no effect on farm produce because alternative water channels are in place.

This advantage does not only apply to the water supply because funding allows farmers to purchase essential materials such as seedlings, equipment, fertilizers and the right human resource needed to propel growth. All of which coalesce to ensure a scalable yield at the end of a planting season.

Pest also loves the rain

With rainfall, the natural ecosystem is sufficiently nurtured for all the entities in the food chain to thrive, including pests. Depending on the crops being cultivated on a farm, there is a high risk of pest infestation of various kinds. Farmers who want to protect their crops from pest attacks must take preventive measures against them by using high-quality pesticides. There are numerous methods of installing pest control systems on a farm, including chemical treatments like fumigation, fogging, and heat treatment.

Rain-inspired harvest needs functional storage

Adequate rainfall may inspire a bountiful harvest for farmers. But that happy outcome may result in post-harvest losses due to lack of storage facilities. After harvesting farm produces, farmers must deal with the perishable nature of their goods by storing them in favorable conditions before they are distributed or traded.

According to the Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute (NSPRI), post-harvest losses amount to 50% of food produced annually. This farming experience is a worrisome development because it means that farmers who have navigated the vagaries of farming are then faced with the daunting challenge of produce preservation. Farmers must employ suitable storage methods to prevent the devastating effects of post-harvest losses to prevent losses.

It is important to note that the storage of farm produces depends directly on the kind of food in question because while cereals may require drying out and then stored in commercial grain elevators, tuber foods are to be kept in barns.

Rain, green pasture and cattle encroachment

Fresh rains inspire new growth and greening up of pasture which cattle find irresistible and quickly succumb to the temptation. This quest for greener pasture sometimes leads to encroachment into cultivated areas leading to expensive crop damage.

Cattle encroachment is another crucial risk factor that farmers must tackle. This prevalent issue has garnered painful national conversation and sometimes lethal confrontations. There have been countless issues of cattle feasting on growing farm produce before they are harvested, leading to insurmountable losses. Cattle encroachment is preventable with fencing and structural farm planning, which provides separate locations for cattle rearing.

Let it rain, but be insured

With all these risks and farming issues, is there any respite for the farmers? Indeed, stakeholders within the agricultural sector can protect themselves from all these risk factors associated with farming using insurance, a proven mitigation tool. When farmers insure their produce before a planting season, they are fully protected from the natural risks of unfavorable weather conditions and post-harvest storage or transportation losses.

The Leadway agricultural insurance offers various degrees of cover to your farm, from crops to livestock and other related property. With this, you can be assured of full insurance coverage on farm produce, crops, poultry, fish, livestock, machinery, and equipment against losses from fire, burglary, lightning, flood, windstorm, impacts, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and even the distant chance of a plane crashing into your farm.

Remarkably, Leadway Assurance recently extended its Agric policy to cover farms from cattle encroachment. If you want to protect your farm from the numerous daunting risks associated with farming, the Leadway Agric plan is the right choice, and Leadway Assurance is the go-to partner.

For more information on the array of insurance products you can buy, please call the Leadway Assurance Financial Management Experts on 01-2800-70 or email [email protected] for professional advice. You call also request a call back.

We are also within your reach on WhatsApp via our virtual assistant support on 08129997044 or any of our social media outlets – @leadwayassurance on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You can also send a DM, and we will revert with all the information you require.

By Mr Ayoola Fatona, Head, Regional Technical Services/Agric Insurance, Leadway Assurance Company Limited.

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