Uganda: Farmers To Get Cheaper Tractors

One of the major solutions to end hunger in Africa is agricultural mechanization.
According to reports, of all the continents, agriculture in Africa continues to be the least mechanized. A little more than 70% of farmers use a hoe to cultivate plots smaller than two hectares.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that there are fewer than two tractors per 1,000 ha of cropland in Africa.

According to experts, replacing manual labor and animal traction on a large scale will transform African agriculture.

Our farming systems have long been characterized by a constant reliance on the hand hoe (80%) and animal traction (15%), along with the associated drudgery. As a result, only 40% of Africa’s arable land is being used because there isn’t the necessary machinery to make it productive.
Untapped agricultural potential may be unlocked with the aid of mechanization. The answer is to create structures that give access to equipment like tractors to smallholder farmers who cannot afford to buy their own.
In order to increase yield, Heifer International and Hello Tractor, a leasing platform, are distributing machinery that is subsidized

According to the Tractors for Africa project, Heifer International will invest $4.5 million over the next ten years in the tractor booking website Hello Tractor.
In a subsidised model known as “Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) tractor financing,” 11 tractors were given to young entrepreneurs from the districts of Dokolo, Lira, Gulu, Kole, and Mubende, Abim during the launch event held at Kati-Kati Restaurant in Lugogo, Kampala.

The financing innovation aims to assist farmers who are unable to access financing due to a lack of collateral in their ability to operate a profitable farm.

Thousands of smallholder farmers will now have access to tractors thanks to this model, according to Heifer’s country director William Matovu.
Through a mobile app for digital tractor sharing, Hello Tractor, an agritech company founded in 2014, connects tractor owners and smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa.
In 2021, Heifer International’s Agriculture Youth and Technology (AYuTe) Innovation Challenge benefited social enterprise Hello Tractor, which received a $1 million prize to expand its operations in order to close the financing gap and give more farmers access to tractors.

“Uganda’s lack of mechanization has made it more difficult for the nation to meet sector goals, which could hinder efforts to realize Vision 2040. It is not surprising that Uganda imports food worth $35 million every year to make up for its production shortfall. Despite the advantages, including the region’s ready export market, cheap labor, and relatively fertile soils, Matovu said.
Participants from the public and private sectors, including leaders of parastatals under the government, food exporters, agri-tech startups, and agri-insurers, among others, attended the tractor handover ceremony.

Fred Bwino Kyakulaga, the state’s minister of agriculture, officiated the ceremony. In his remarks, he acknowledged the need to mechanize farming in order to combat the impending threats to food security as well as the dangers posed by climate change.
“The government developed agriculture mechanization as a plan to restructure the industry. More than 70% of the labor force in the country will now have greater access to affordable farm tools, Kyakulaga said.
He continues by saying that the government is encouraging the use of tractors and other forms of agricultural mechanization.

More than 300 tractors have been distributed by the government through the National Agricultural Advisory Service (Naads) to promote mechanization, promote food security, and combat poverty among the populace.
Farm mechanization is a top priority in the Parish Development Model to speed up production, processing, and value addition. Food security and higher family household incomes will result from this, Kyakulaga continued.



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