The cultivation of maize round the year is a great challenge to both subsistence and mechanized farmers in Abia State owing to the changes in climatic conditions especially precipitation, relative humidity, and temperature during the two traditional seasons, which affect the growth and yield of the cereal crop. This paper is the first of a two-part study aimed to evolving an internet-based remote monitoring and messaging system for farmers in the Umueze-Umuchi communities and other connected areas in Osisioma Ngwa Local Government of Abia State to enable monitoring of vital climatic conditions that are much likely to affect their maize farms during the dry season. This study is descriptive and presents succinct information on maize cultivation in the communities with recourse to topography, relief and drainage, climate, soil and vegetation of the area. Data were collected through observation and interview of selected farmers. The vital atmospheric conditions required for maize farming such as temperature, vapour pressure, and relative humidity were noted to vary during the seasons: rainy and dry seasons, respectively. Data from farmers showed that maize cultivation begins in early march following early rainfall and actively ends around June when the volume of precipitation is at its peak. No maize cultivation is done during the dry season beginning from early November owing to low precipitation regardless of the presence of the Aba River across these communities. Consequent upon the findings, the authors are led to examining the option of all year-round maize cultivation aided by an internet of things (IoT)-enabled climate monitoring system in order to boost maize production in the aforementioned communities. It is submitted that the use of the monitoring device will enable the farmer know when to complement the adverse climatic conditions during the dry season thereby enhancing maize cultivation round the year.
Key words: Osisioma Ngwa, Abia State, maize farming, internet of things (IoT), food production, climate monitoring system.
ABSG, Abia State Government; GDP, gross domestic product; IoT, internet of things; NBS, National Bureau of Statistics; RH, relative humidity; UN, united nations.
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