KAMPALA: Heifer International Uganda (HIU) in partnership with Hello Tractor has launched an initiative aimed at encouraging youth to expeditiously engage in farming activities, by offering them Hi-Tech cultivation tractors.
The brilliant strategy adopted by HIU is intended to transform agri-business by stimulating farm productivity, employment, food security, and improving smallholder farmer livelihoods.
The tractors, TAPE brand (complete with disk ploughs and trailers) were part of agri-equipment farm tools worth Shs. 2.2 billion offered on loan (Pay As You Go program) to young farmers, intended to help them boost agricultural mechanization, leading to improved productivity.
A total of six brand new tractors were handed over to young farmers by HIU, from districts of Luweero, Kasanda, Dokolo among others.
Among other aims, this initiative is also intended to stimulate youth expeditious participation in agri-business activities, using advanced equipment, which is in correlation with better farming methods aimed at improving productivity in a short period of time.
As the country faces a threat of food insecurity due to the impact of the Russia’s war in Ukraine, which has impinged the importation of fertilisers and wheat, deploying better farming equipment is seen as a solution to the looming danger of food scarcity.
William Matovu of HIU, personally handed over this equipment to the youth. He said the initiative dubbed Pay As You Go will solve the problem of unemployment among the youth, there by effectively tackling idleness and disorderly which is the root cause of crime.
He also lauded the government of Uganda for close collaboration with the organisation, through learn for Agri-business project, which recognized support offered under the organic cluster development.
Most importantly, Matovu highlighted the essence of the arrangement in defusing the looming danger of food insecurity, adding that it will also improve livelihoods of these people, after finding markets for their harvests.
“We are focusing most of our attention on the youth, because the most important thing is to stimulate youth active participation in farming activities, secondly to make them use this as an opportunity for self employment, thirdly, Uganda needs the youth because they are young and energetic, crucial for running these farms as businesses,” Matovu said, as he addressed the youth and media.
Folu Okunade the Chief Executive Director of Hello Tractor said that the Pay-As-You-Go program was developed to make tractor ownership reliable.
“The PAYG will give more entrepreneurs and smallholder farmers access to tractors at an affordable rate. And in turn can boost farm productivity, employment, food security and farmer livelihood.”
Tractor recipients did not wait to express their excitement. They decried the use of rudimentary tools, which they deployed previously in their farming endeavors like traditional hoes, and vowed never to use them again.
“My name is Masembe Christopher, I am a farmer. These tractors are going to help us a great deal. I personally practice my cultivation on 70 acres of land. I have been using rudimentary tools, but time was ripe for me to use machines because when you use manual labor, it is very expensive and wastes time.”
“Namusoke Gloria is my name, this is going to help the youth, especially women to better their standards of living by employing advanced equipment in their cultivation, leading to increased harvests, increased money and increased profits.”
Heifer International Uganda seeks to expand its interventions aimed at stimulating agri-business with its transformative work in the next five years, hinged on a goal of placing farmers on a path of achieving a living income benchmark of USD. 4601 annually for every household.
As a non governmental agriculture oriented organisation, it started operating in Uganda in 1982 as a small project distributing a handful of cows, but soon expanded into one of Uganda’s leading agricultural and community development organizations.