Kampala — THE Government should subsidise the revived tractor-hire scheme to fast-track and strengthen mechanised agriculture, the National Planning Authority (NPA) chief, Wilberforce Kisamba Mugerwa, has said.
"This would enable many farmers access tractors to increase production."
Mugerwa also urged the Government to establish a food security policy to avert the food shortage in the country."Our farming is a nightmare.
"Farmers get a quarter of output per unit area. We can't fight famine without increasing food security or putting in place a national food policy," he said while speaking during a commercial farmers' seminar on tractor-hire services at the Mukono Zonal Agriculture Research and Development Institute.
Famine has hit parts of the country, killing over 30 people in the Teso sub-region.
"We should, like most countries have, establish a specific budget for national food security, similar to that of disaster preparedness to avoid ad-hoc responses to famine," Kisamba said.
However, in a bid to commercialise agriculture, the Government had, through the National Enterprise Corporation, started importing tractors from Iran under a local firm UGIRAN.
UGIRAN is a joint venture between Uganda and an Iranian tractor makers, ITMC, which assembles, and sells the tractors at subsidised prices.
ITMC, the sole tractor manufacturer in Iran, sells over 30,000 tractors world wide annually.
NEC is a body under the defense ministry mandated with doing business on behalf of the army, said Col. (Rtd) Fred Mwesigye, the managing director.
Starting July 2008 to-date, NEC has sold-out 100 tractors of Massey Fergusson model to local and regional farmers.