The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries through the National Agricultural Advisory Services has distributed tractors to three farmer groups in Lira District.
The three groups are Nyeko- rac community Farmers’ Cooperative Society, Itek- okile Rice Growers and Multipurpose Cooperative Society Ltd and Bar Orphan Widows and Widowers- (BOWW) Cooperative Society.
Of the 11 farmer groups which applied to receive the tractors, however, only the three groups met the criteria which includes among other things existing and active farmer groups, farmer groups whose registration is at- least up to district level and those with a minimum of 20 members.
Farmer groups with not less than 50 acres of available land for production are also considered together with those with a track record of proper leadership structure and management of group assets and finances.
Thomas Okello, the Head of Production Department of Lira District Local Government says the tractors will increase agricultural productivity in Lango Sub-region as a whole.
To ensure the effective and sustainable utilization of the tractors and implements by the beneficiaries, a tripartite memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the beneficiaries, Local Government and NAADs secretariat as provided for in the operational guidelines for access and management of the tractors.
The guidelines also provide for a contribution of 20% of the value of the tractor and implements by the beneficiaries.
This contribution will be retained by the beneficiaries on their bank account and will be used to acquire more implements.
Milton John Elok, a 69-year-old member of BOWW cooperative society says the availability of the tractor will save them from the burden of using hand hoes which he says is affecting not only their health but output as well.
Brenda Milly Aceng, a member of another group believes that with the tractor in place, their production will increase.
The government is procuring tractors and implements for farming communities across the country under the MAAIF strategy for promotion of agricultural mechanization.
Through NAADS, the Ministry procured 110 tractors under Financial Year 2017/18 and is procuring 170 tractors this Financial Year 2018/19 and these tractors has already been distributed to many districts.