Uganda: Farmers Encouraged to Mechanise Agriculture
Kampala — IF our companies exhibited tractors and farming equipment at the agricultural fair that closed yesterday in Jinja.
The companies are Heavy Duty, Farming Equipment Ltd, Massey Ferguson and Ugiran, a Luzira-based company jointly owned by the Government and Iran. The fair was organised by the Uganda National Farmers Federation.
The tractors were displayed alongside other farming equipment, including boom sprayers, seed drills, planters and tipping trailers. The companies encouraged farmers to mechanise agriculture, citing tremendous benefits:
A tractor can plough five acres in one day, while it may take a farmer at least two weeks to cultivate the same piece of land using a hoe.
According to Abbey Mubiru, an employee of Ugiran, the rising sales of the company’s equipment is an indication that there is a growing adaptation to mechanisation.
“Since we started assembling these tractors in Uganda last year, we have sold at least 70,” Mubiru says. A tractor at Ugiran costs sh54m, a set of ploughs costs sh13m, while a trailer costs sh8m.
Massey Ferguson exhibited more expensive tractors.
A set of a 400 Series tractor being promoted in Uganda goes for over sh107m. According to Lemmy Gitonga, an official of Engsol Engineering Solutions, the official distributors of Massey Ferguson, the tractor last longer than the other brands on the market.
He says some tractors on the market are cheap because they are second-hand. For instance, Uganda Heavy Duty and Farming Equipment exhibited a second-hand Massey Ferguson at sh25m.
“The advantage is that we have all the spare parts for these tractors,” George Lukakama, a sales manager, says.
Walking tractors were also exhibited.
Each goes for between sh4.5 to sh5m. Farmers were educated about the enormous benefits of a walking tractor. It can cultivate land, pump water and carry heavy loads.
Experts say Uganda needs at least three heavy duty tractors at every agricultural sub-county. This amounts to around 3,000 tractors.
Currently there are about 1,000 tractors, most of which are in eastern and northern Uganda.
Last year, the Government started giving out walking tractors under the National Agricultural Advisory Services programme.
The process has been slow, but promising. Farmers in Kayunga district were recently given eight walking tractors.