MAAIF Launches Mechanized Tractor Scheme in Karamoja

One of the Tractors ploughing recently in Nabilatuk

By Timothy Eodu – Nabilatuk

The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries – MAAIF has launched the Tractor Mechanized Scheme in Karamoja region. The launch which was done on Saturday 1st April 2023 from Lokapel village in Lorengedwat Sub County, Nabilatuk district, flagged off 10 tractors that will be used in the region.

The tractors which are owned by government of Uganda from Namalere Agricultural Referral Mechanization Center will be camping in each district beginning with Nabilatuk to open up farms for both big and small scale farmers upon demand.

Thomas Aleper, the LC 1  Lokapel says he is very happy that the tractors have been brought since much of the lands was idle . He said the only problem now being faced in the region is lack of water for production which he requested that if possible something be done about it.

He added that once the community is empowered to use these tractors for agriculture, much food will be produced but urged the MAAIF to construct food granaries to safely store the output.

Minister Tumwebaze and other Ministers of State flagging off the tractor scheme

Director Nabwin research institute Dr. Paul Okullo says in the past year, a number of people were reported to have died of hunger and as such this initiative will address such challenge. He said using the research institute, they have developed a number of mechanism to solve the hunger issue in Karamoja with the top priority being put in easy access of input crops that are high yielding.

The Director said since oxen that were used for opening gardens earlier are being raided, NARO thought of tractor scheme since even the use of dotted tractors wasn’t also efficient, these will be working in a group to have good impact.

Dr. Okulo added that Karamoja has a good landscape for mechanization and as such their initiative of Training and skilling farmers is to reorient them in to the new way of farming. “We want to put up a system that farmers can be able to demand for what they need,” he said.

Dr. Okulo added: “There’s a little bit of mixing of things so that farmers can get quality, to prepare them for market and stream line standards so that factories can be able to get best quality for their production, as such communities in Karamoja over time will be able to be a potential food hub”.

CAO Nabilatuk Jacob Elabor Ejuku said six Sub Counties, 26 parishes having about 26, 066 households are engaged in agriculture using rudimentary tools in the district and that the choice to launch the tractor project in Nabilatuk will boost agriculture and production.

He said most of the community is agro-pastoral and diversification from animal to crop production is being realized with much progress registered in some prominent villages (Morulem, Amudat, Kalokeju, Nabwal, lokapel) performing better among others that are very fertile.

He added that Sorghum, millet, Groundnuts, maize, beans among others do very well in the district though sorghum is always sold in it’s raw nature and called for establishment of value addition for betterment of the community.

Elabor says the district has 54% of extension workers which is not sufficient enough to cover the whole district with now the mechanization coming in and thus for more extension workers.

“With the tractor scheme now in place, government projects such as PDM will have a boost to increase production but also other farmer groups in the district will have access to cheap tractor service to open up bigger chunks of land”, he concluded.

Esther Anyakun, State Minister disaster preparedness also woman MP Nakapiripirit applauded MAAIF for the tractor scheme which she said will address the hunger issue which had forced most karacunas (youth) into raids.

Hon. Anyakun said for a long time MAAIF has supplied seeds into the region through various agencies but nothing tangible has been reaped out of it. She asked the community to utilize the tractors which are now in their district to open up fields so that they can plant early.

Some of the Tractors parked at Lokapel army barracks

The MP also called upon Minister Tumwebaze to ensure that a food granary is set up in Nabilatuk district so that the crops out put that will be realized through the mechanized scheme can be safely stored. She said suspected rustlers had resorted to burning local granaries in the communities which affected most farmers in the region.

“This interventions have been long awaited, Insecurity led to loss of property and some lives to an extent that the community couldn’t concentrate on productive activities” Anyakun Stated.

According to the Minister of state for Agriculture Bwino Kyakulaga, MAAIF has come to plant a seed in Karamoja to ensure that the current hunger and raid situation is dealt with but through agriculture. He said as long as the larger population in the region embrace farming, there would be no reason for hunger to cripple it and also no one will entertain insecurity as it opens up more market opportunities for produce.

Bright Rwamirama the Minister of State-MAAIF in charge of animal husbandry said once the community in Karamoja adopt the mechanized scheme, MAAIF will set up animal breeding sites which have already been identified to boost the livestock quality in the region.

He said this will be done in conjunction with NARO and Operation Wealth Creation -OWC to ensure that the locals get quality but also utilize them to better their livelihoods.

Frank Tumwebaze Minister MAAIF says they are in the region to boost Salim Saleh’s presence in the region since he is identifying various interventions that are geared towards causing positive social-economic transformation in the region.

Tumwebaze said MAAIF is in the region to ensure sustainable integrated activity in the region beginning from Nabilatuk and intends to first create an impact before they can be rolled to other regions. He concluded that Nabilatuk should take advantage of the rains they receive to leverage crop production using the mechanisation that is in their disposal.

 

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