Moroto, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Local Council chairpersons in Karamoja sub-region have asked President Yoweri Museveni to fulfill the pledge of purchasing 200 tractors to enable farmers in the region to venture into commercial agriculture.
According to the LCV chairpersons, while at Morulinga State Lodge last year, President Museveni promised to procure over 200 tractors for distribution to each sub-county across the nine districts and two municipalities in the region.
Paul Komol Lote, the LCV chairperson of Kotido district told URN in an interview that they are anxiously waiting for the tractors, which were promised by the government to enable farmers to increase crop production and ensure food security.
Lote said that they are aware that the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries has already procured the tractors but it has not yet delivered them to the beneficiaries yet the rains are soon returning.
He said this is the right time for the tractors to be delivered so that they can start mobilizing resources for fuel and also prepare farmers for serious cultivation. ‘’With the current iron sheet scandal, I’m worried about the fate of those tractors maybe they have also been diverted to other districts,” Lote said
John Paul Kodet, the LCV chairperson of Napak district said they want the tractors, which are meant for Karamoja because the farming season is about to begin and farmers should get ready. Kodet noted that they do not want another wave of hunger to hit the region this year and yet the government has the capacity to address the matter through agriculture. He said the two Ministries of Agriculture and Karamoja Affairs should cooperate to ensure that these tractors are delivered at the right time.
Ismail Mohammed, the mayor of Moroto Municipality asked the Ministry of Agriculture to deliver all the tractors to the respective districts to avoid diversions. Mohammed revealed that he has got reliable information that the government is planning to purchase only nine tractors for all the districts without the municipalities, which is contrary to the initial program.
John Bosco Akore, the secretary of Kotido Elders Council, says that the government should also consider giving out hand hoes to each clan since tractors cannot help everyone. Akore said the council has started moving around mobilizing the communities to prepare their gardens to grab the first rainy season for cultivation.
He noted that Karimojong are very hard-working people and they would be able to address the crisis of hunger by themselves if empowered. “Our people here have been migrating to other districts to work in people’s gardens and they are paid with food, what about if that labor is turned into our own gardens,” Akore wondered.
Akore also revealed that this is the time for the government to deliver all the agricultural inputs such as seeds among others to the region so that farmers can catch up with the first rainy season. However, Ambrose Onoria, the Kotido Resident District Commissioner said the government is ready to support the region in all means to address hunger.
Onoria says although there is high demand for tractors, he is skeptical about the maintenance because this is not the first time that the government would be distributing tractors to the region. He said many tractors are grounded at the district workshop and some of the spare parts have been stolen by unknown people.