Nabuin Research Centre and Development Institute have asked the Ministry of Agriculture to supply more tractors to promote agricultural mechanization in the Karamoja sub-region.
In April 2023, the Ministry of Agriculture launched a tractor hire scheme in Nabilatuk district to support farmers in Karamoja to boost food production. The ten tractors were delivered to start the pilot study. Six more tractors were availed to cover all the nine districts of Karamoja.
In the last season, only 2,800 acres of land were ploughed while several farmers especially in Kotido, Moroto, and Kaabong missed out on the season.
The officials are calling for more additional tractors to cover at least 10 per district to enable farmers to beat the heat.
Dr. Paul Okullo, the Director of Research at Nabuin Zonal Agricultural Research Institute said that they have so far received demand for tractor services from 2,000 farmers in Napak district.
Okullo said that they are expecting the demand to increase because of the farmers from Nakapiripirit and Nabilatuk district who are the largest farmers group.
Okullo says that the demand for tractor services is overwhelming and farmers have increased their acreage with each opening more than 5 acres for crop production.
He noted that the hire scheme is working well in promoting mechanized and commercial farming which has increased food production, especially in the districts along the green belts areas.
Okullo revealed that they have started mapping the farmers and soon the tractors will be deployed to the farmers who have already applied for the services.
He urged the farmers to consider forming groups so that it is easy to deploy the tractors and ensure proper management.
Silver Ogwang, the Production manager at Nabuin Zonal Agricultural Research Institute who is also the Tractor coordinator noted that the hire scheme has enabled them to produce the adoptable seeds which are fit for the region.
Ogwang said that the pilot study has turned out positive and it is worth increasing the number of tractors to meet the demand.
He said that the Office of the Prime Minister supported the institution to produce the seeds for the farmers and they managed to cultivate over 400 acres in the community.
Ogwang is optimistic that the scheme is going to increase food security among the households in Karamoja if the season is properly timed.
Ogwang also added that they received nine walking tractors from the Ministry of Agriculture which will be used by the small-scale farmers.