The tractor cultivates 10 acres in two days. It is cheap as it costs only sh100,000 to cultivate an acre of land
NAADS will distribute 280 tractors to benefi ciaries countrywide beginning next month.
Getting pasture for animals is a big challenge, especially during the dry season. A few years ago, it was even worse for members of Yega Women’s Group in Nyakashika, Kiruhura district.
“Casual labourers were not readily available and even those who were around, would not do the job well,” says Catherine Kamwiine, the vicechairperson of the group. Casual labourers prefer to work when the rainy season has started. By the time they fi nish tilling the land, the season has ended, she says.
“They do not even till the soil well, which affects the quality of pasture we harvest. Worse still, it is costly to hire them,” Kamwiine adds. In 2015, the group applied for and received a tractor from National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS). According to Kamwiine, the main purpose of the tractor was to provide feeds and grass for livestock.
“All we did was contribute 20% of the cost of the tractor, which was sh24m. The money was later co-invested in the acquisition of the harrow and chaff cutter. “The tractor cultivates 10 acres in two days. It is cheap as it costs only sh100,000 to cultivate an acre of land. It also saves time, which enables us to plant in real time. The tractor tills the land well, which leads to good harvests,” she says.
The tractor is further hired out to other residents at a subsidised fee, enabling them to improve their incomes. For Mzee Bashaijja, despite getting 15 litres of milk every day, poverty remained his cup of tea since selling milk was a big challenge. At the time, Bashaijja and farmers used to take their milk to the only milk cooler, which was about 30km away at Kitwe in Ntungamo district. Bashaijja is a resident of Ruborogota in Isingiro district. “We lost a lot of money.
The bodaboda riders would tell us that a litre or two had been lost due to the poor road network. At times they would feign an accident and claim that all the milk had poured,” Anthony Barigye, another resident of Ruborogota, says. Furthermore, one had to have over 15 litres of milk supply to qualify as a member of the cooling plant and, therefore, sell the milk at the plant. Small scale farmers found themselves with nowhere to sell their milk. However, all has changed for the better after NAADS delivered and installed a 3,400-litre capacity milk cooling plant in Ruborogota village, to support the farmers.