By Steven Enatu
Farmers hailing from the Peri-urban areas of Soroti city have been equipped with eight walking hand operated tractors to boost food production in the Peri-urban areas of the city.
The fourteen horse power multi functioning walking tractors were delivered to the eight groups from peri urban areas of Opiyai, Aloet, Achetgwen, Otatai, and Madera through the office of the Member of Parliament for Soroti city East Hon Edmund Herbert Ariko.
This was done during the belated commemoration of the NRM liberation day at Soroti sports ground for Soroti city on Friday, 17th February, 2023.
Leo Aeto, from Omuron Ebumainos women farming, saving and credit group in Opuyo ward said the tractors will enable them plough land for planting in a cheap and affordable way.
“Some of us have been struggling hiring oxen for ploughing but this has now saved us a lot, we shall be able to do agriculture for consumption and commercial gain, even hunger will end,” she narrated.
Okello Felix Bosco one of the beneficiaries from Madera farmers group said many had wondered where they would be but Madera being a peri-urban center has got land that can be tilled using the tractor and this will improve on food security.
“We shall utilize this well. It’s not only for members, we implore other farmers also to come and use it, you only pay money for fuel and some small maintenance fee that has not been agreed on yet,” he said.
Ismael Ochen, the administrator at the office of the MP Soroti City East said the tractors were lobbied from the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries following the earlier request from the farmers for oxen ploughs.
The tractors can perform four different functions like grinding mills, ploughing, and pumping water.
Hon Herbert Edmund Ariko, the MP Soroti City East emphasized that his office will continue to advocate for small Agri-business projects in Soroti city for those who don’t have land.
He said the tractors were alien to the policy from MAAIF demanding that the machines be in the custody of Village Savings and Loan Association.
Ariko appealed to the group leaders to desist from the aspect of keeping the tractors for themselves but rather allow other farmers also to use it.
“Do not restrict the machines to only the members of the groups. They should benefit all farmers within the city,” he emphasized.
The tractors can plough one acre of land using four litters of fuel depending on the operation. Ochen said members and users will pay some amount of money that has not yet been agreed on for maintenance purposes.
The groups went through assimilation and induction for effective operation of the walking tractors.