Rwanda will witness a reduction in rainfall from September to December (Agriculture season A) compared to previous seasons, according to the Rwanda Meteorology Agency.
The agency said that the climate outlook for this new season indicates higher chances of near normal to below normal rainfall conditions across most parts of the country.
It linked the predicted drop in rainfall to the falling temperatures in the Pacific and Indian oceans.
The districts of Musanze, Gakenke, Rulindo Gicumbi and Burera in the Northern Province are expected to witness the highest rainfall in the country. Nyaruguru, Nyamagabe and Rusizi districts and parts of Muhanga and Ngororero will receive the same amount of rainfall.
Although a reduction in the amount of rainfall could affect agriculture production, it could reduce weather induced disasters like floods and landslides, which ravaged the country in previous rainy seasons.
Data from the Ministry of Emergency Management indicates that between January and April this year heavy rains claimed the lives of 140 people and injured 225 others.
Over 3,082 houses were damaged, leaving thousands of families displaced as more than 3,000 livestock died.
“We expect to see less floods and landslides because the amount of rain in forecast is less than the long-term mean,” said Anthony Twahirwa, the division manager for weather and climate services at Meteo Rwanda.
The districts of Kigali and most parts of the Eastern and Southern provinces will witness the least amount of rainfall, according to the agency’s forecast.
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Jean Claude Izamuhaye, the Head of Department of Crop Research and Technology Transfer at Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB), said that farming preparations are at an advanced stage.
In relation to the weather forecast, he expressed optimism towards this season’s harvest.
“We urge farmers to speed up land preparation activities…select the best seeds and opt for (crop) insurance,” Izamuhaye added.
In the past, extreme weather has cost Rwanda up to 10 percent of its budget. Floods and drought alone occasion a yearly loss of at least $43 million.
“Our message to the public today is to closely follow up the weather forecasts,” said Aimable Gahigi, Director General of Meteo Rwanda. “We must change our lifestyles. We need to adopt a new routine of relying on weather updates for everything we do.”
The emergency ministry has advised the public to tighten the roofs so that houses can withstand strong winds and set up rainwater containers among others.
All district entities were requested to develop a disaster preparedness plan.