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Farmers in Karamoja Get Walking Tractors :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Farmers in Karamoja Get Walking Tractors

Dr Paul Okullo, the Nabuin Zonal Agricultural Research Institute Director said that the idea of walking tractors was conceived after realizing that most farmers had less than five acres of land which is not cost-effective for big tractors.
Hon Peter Lokeris , the Minister Karamoja Affairs in a group photo with the tractor operators who have been under going training on how to operate walking tractors in Nabuin zonal research institute

Audio 3

Small-scale farmers in the Karamoja sub-region have received walking tractors from the Ministry of Agriculture. 

In April  2023, the government launched a tractor-hire scheme in Nabilatuk district as part of their pilot study for mechanized agriculture. The scheme has 16 horsepower tractors to support farmers across all nine districts of Karamoja.

However,  due to the overwhelming demand for the services,  the Ministry has introduced nine walking tractors to handle the small-scale farmers and also reduce the overwhelming demand pressure for tractors by the farmers.

Dr Paul Okullo,  the Nabuin Zonal Agricultural Research Institute Director said that the idea of walking tractors was conceived after realizing that most farmers had less than five acres of land which is not cost-effective for big tractors. 

Okullo said that the alternative of walking tractors can help mostly the vulnerable community and reduce the pressure on tractors. 

He said the walking tractors can perform up to three acres in a day and this would help especially the vulnerable community.

Okullo said that they will charge 140,000 Shillings to plough an acre and the major target is for farmers who own between two and three acres of land.

Okullo also said that there has been an overwhelming demand for the tractors and currently they have received a request to plow over 30,000 acres across the region. 

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Eng James Tondo Kasozi, the Principal Engineer with the Ministry of Agriculture who also doubles as head of the unit tractor hire scheme at Nabuin said that they have selected and trained five walking tractor operators from each district across the entire sub-region.

Kasozi said that they have selected trainees who shall also help to train other members from their respective districts as the Agricultural ministry plans to deliver more walking tractors. 

Kosozi noted that this is the first group of walking tractor operators to be trained since the scheme was launched in the last year and this will simplify their service delivery.

He also revealed that the Ministry has acquired 10 acres of land next to Nabuin Research Institute for the establishment of the mechanization center.

Kasozi said that the mechanized center will be used for servicing the tractors that break down and other farmers who may want to repair their agricultural machines.

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Peter Lokeris,  the Minister for Karamoja Affairs, urged the government to speed up the process of distributing the tractors to the farmers.  Lokeris noted that the region has only one season which is running so fast and catching up with the weather patterns becomes a challenge.

He observed that the cultivation season is more likely to cut farmers should the institution delay distributing tractors in the next two weeks. 

Lokeris rallied the communities to embrace the use of mechanization to boost food production. He noted that through the innovation of mechanized agriculture,  the region would be able to produce enough food that feed the entire country in the future. 

Lokeris warned the youths to desist from dubious activities such as cattle raiding but instead focus on agriculture for development. 

He observed that the region has for long been grappling with the insecurity which crippled development and this is high time for change. 

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