The government of the country is preparing to open 18 agricultural mechanisation centers and enhance the existing ones to increase agricultural production. Fred Bwino Kyakulaga, the Minister of State for Agriculture, revealed this plan.
Kyakulaga explained that the government will deploy heavy agricultural equipment, improve the infrastructure of existing centers, and hire staff to oversee operations.
This announcement was made on September 21 during the unveiling of a seed laboratory and poultry hatchery at the Ngetta Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute in Lira City.
The government aims to make agricultural technology more accessible to the public to stimulate production. In the Lango region, they plan to upgrade and equip the Agwata mechanisation Centre in Dokolo district.
In 2020, the government launched a regional center in Agwata sub-county with various heavy earth-moving equipment. These included bulldozers, hydraulic excavators, wheel loaders, motor graders, vibrating rollers, water bowsers, dump trucks, low bed carriers, hydraulic drilling rigs, and mobile workshop vans.
These centers were intended to benefit individual farmers, groups, communities, NGOs, and local governments, with subsidized hire rates at 60%. However, the operations have not yet commenced.
The Resident District Commissioner, Barbra Akech, welcomed the plan to revive the center, particularly for large-scale commercial farmers. She noted that much of the equipment had remained unused since its launch.
District Information Officer Musafiri Suwed stated that there had been no reports of farmers utilizing the equipment since its launch.
Tonny Obel, the LC3 Chairperson of Agwata Town Council, cited limited staffing and resources as reasons for the center’s slow operation. Recently, efforts to train young people in tractor operation and maintenance have begun.
District Production Officer Dr. Richard Enyanga acknowledged that the center had been inactive due to a lack of staff. However, he mentioned plans to recruit over 30 staff members to manage the facility in the near future.
Minister Kyakulaga emphasized that these centers, along with the 17 others, will serve as hubs for appropriate agricultural technology, workshops, and training centers for equipment mechanics and operators. Cabinet has already approved funding for these initiatives in the current financial year.
He also mentioned plans to strengthen the engineering arm of the National Agricultural Research Organization to facilitate the adoption and widespread production of agricultural technologies developed for demonstration purposes.