Assessing the length of growing season in the Sudan Savanna Ecological Zone of Nigeria as a challenge to food security for sustainable development
Since the inception of the present Government in May 2015, it has been battling with socio-economic problems ranging from economic recession, fall of crude oil prices in the international markets and insecurity challenge, among others. To achieve sustainable development goals, Government focused on agriculture as the best option for tackling such problems. It is against this background that this paper aimed at assessing the length of growing season in the Sudan Savanna Ecological Zone of Nigeria using daily rainfall data recorded at nearby stations from 1981 to 2010. It assessed the level and mean length of growing season in Kano, Katsina, Maiduguri, Potiskum, Gusau and Sokoto, all of which are located within this ecological zone. Data analysis involved the use of descriptive statistics to compute cumulative pentade rainfall and ogive of cumulative pentade rainfall. Using pentade and Julian day calendars, an annual ogive of cumulative pentade rainfall was drawn using Microsoft Excel for each study location and length of growing season determined from 1981 to 2010. Results obtained indicate that mean length of growing season for the study area was approximately 125 days, a duration that is slightly longer than four months. To achieve sustainable development in agriculture, the study recommends that agricultural policies in the study area should take into consideration the rather short mean length of growing season in the study area while exploring effective and feasible water conservation techniques to complement rainwater.
Keywords: assessment, growing season length, Sudan savanna, Nigeria