Although in the 2011/2012 financial year budget, the Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development Maria Kiwanuka announced the removal of import duty tax on hand hoes from 10% to 0%, it has not helped farmers increase their productivity. Gertrude Nyakaiski says that by removing the tax, government is indirectly promoting the use of hand hoes, instead of modernizing agriculture.
Farmers in Kabarole district are producing low yields, as the hand hoe remains the only agricultural equipment in place to improve food productivity.
Some of the farmers especially those engaged in rice and maize production have large chunks of land but use hand hoes to plough several acres of land. This is energy consuming and limits the amount of produce, which affects their income.
In Rwimi sub-county, some farmers have abandoned agriculture and sold off their land because they lack the necessary equipment to ensure high productivity.
Francis Mugasa, a farmer in Kakonga parish, uses a hoe on his four acre piece of land to grow rice and maize, but manages to plough only one acre. Mugasa says that he has been using the hoe for the past six years, but he hasn’t reaped much. He says that he only gets 200 kilograms of rice from one acre, which is low.
Mugasa says that if he had a tractor, he would be able to cultivate more land and produce enough food for home consumption and for the market, which will increase on his income. He also says that hiring of tractors is also expensive.
Faith Bamuturaki, a farmer in Kasunganyanja village, says that she spends huge sums of money when using a hoe. Bamuturaki says that she hires five casual labourers per day, whom she pays 4, 000shillings for six hours to work at the farm. In a day she spends 20, 000 shillings.
Gertrude Nyakaiski, the chairperson Rwimi farmers association, says that some farmers are also ignorant about how to acquire the equipment. She says that the farmers are supposed to be sensitized on how they can access credit, so that they can purchase equipment to improve on their produce.
She also says that although in the 2011/2012 financial year budget, the Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development Maria Kiwanuka announced the removal of import duty tax on hand hoes from 10% to 0%, it has not helped farmers increase their productivity.
She says that by removing the tax, government is indirectly promoting the use of hand hoes, instead of modernizing agriculture.
The Kabarole district agricultural officer, Amos Mugume admits that agricultural modernization cannot be achieved by the use of the hand hoe. Mugume says that the department is too cash strapped to purchase tractors for the farmers.
He says that farmers are being encouraged to form groups and access credit facilities to purchase hand tractors.