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Karimojong farmers demand tractors from agriculture minister

Minister Vincent Ssempijja. File Photo

Moroto, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries-MAAIF will provide farm tools such as tractors and drying equipment to serious farmers in Karamoja, Minister Vincent Ssempijja has revealed.

He was speaking during the launch of phase two of Karamoja feeds program on Friday, which is jointly being implemented by the government of Uganda and the UN World Food Program. The project which is aimed at promoting agriculture in Karamoja provides farmers with market for their maize produce to discourage them from depending on handouts.

Ssempijja’s promise was prompted by the outcry from farmers in Nakapiripirit on the challenge they face to open large farmland. Betty Nakiru, one of the farmers in Namalu, said they would want to compete with farmers in other parts of the country to increase their production but they lack farm tools.

“How I wish the government could provide us with tractors. Just only for four years, we would be the best farmers in the country,” she said. Simon Nangiro, the Nakapiripirit district LC V chairperson said the land in Karamoja is fertile but people can’t manage to till the land for commercial farming due to lack of farm machines.

Last year, the UN World Food Program under the Karamoja feeds project bought maize worth Shillings 500 million from farmers in the region. “It’s all about modernization, If our people are given tractors, trust me, Karamoja will be a food basket for the whole country,” he said.

In his response, Ssempijja assured the farmers that everything they need would be given to them provided they don’t fail to make use of the machines. “It’s our interest to see Karamoja producing a lot of food that can be used even for feeding other regions in the country, we will work and see how we can deliver those machines,” he said.

John Byabagambi, the Karamoja Affairs Minister backed the farmer’s request for tractors, saying Karimojong have now turned into agriculture and that they need to be supported. “The Karimojongs are very hardworking people and when you hear them asking for something, they will utilize it very well,” he said. Until recently, pastoralism has been the mainstay of Karamoja.



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