The Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Hon. Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja has said Government through National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) has procured 110 tractors to be distributed to farmers across the Country.
While giving opening remarks at the National Stakeholders Workshop organized by NAADS secretariat today at Imperial Royal Hotel in Kampala yesterday, the Minister said the tractors are already in the Country and are yet to be launched by H.E President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni before the end of this month.
He said the allocation of tractors and implements shall be on regional balancing basis and the target beneficiaries are farmer organizations in the form of but not limited to; registered farmer groups, associations and cooperatives.
He also said nucleus farmers, agro-processors’, traders’ associations, and other value chain actors may be eligible for support under strategic consideration.
“The pilot phase of this initiative was implemented in eight selected districts in the South Western region of Uganda with focus on the dairy value chain through cattle pasture improvement.
The aim in this pilot was to increase milk production to meet the increasing demand of milk and milk products locally and internationally”. The Minister said.
He said the selection criteria of farmer organizations to benefit out of this arrangement will be as follows;
1. Farmers organized in groups shall be eligible support with tractors and matching implements.
2. Consideration shall be given to only farmer groups/associations/cooperatives whose registration is at least up to district level.
3. Farmer organizations shall be required to present proof/evidence that the group have been in operations and guided by the laws that govern the operations of such associations/groups for example cooperative society by-laws.
4. The farmer organization/group should have a minimum of 25 members.
5. A farmer organization intending to benefit from this arrangement should have a truck record of proper leadership structure and management of group assets and finances.
6. The group should avail a competitive bankable business/tractor hire service plan. This should be supported by evidence of conducting profitable ventures within a particular commodity value chain.
7. The groups commit to use only qualified tractor operators/technicians who will be trained prior to delivery/receipt of the tractor.
MAAIF identified promotion of agricultural mechanization as a strategic intervention area. This is to address one of the factors constraining increase in agricultural production and productivity i.e., limited access to sufficient farm power at household level and dependence on rudimentary, inefficient agricultural tools with up to 90% still dependent on the hand hoe, with only 2% able to access and use tractors for basic farming operations.
In the emerging production system tractors and their implements are critical for land preparation, planting, weeding, harvesting, and water pumping among many other applications.