Uganda: Govt to Reclaim Grabbed Agriculture Land

The government is set to reclaim land belonging to the Agriculture ministry, which has been allegedly grabbed in different parts of the country.

"We are going to launch a real war on reclaiming government land belonging to the Agriculture ministry and have title deeds for development purposes," Mr Frank Tuwmwebaze, the minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, said.

Mr Tuwmwebaze made the remarks during the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of Bungokho Zonal Agricultural Mechanisation Centre in Bungokho Sub-county in Mbale District on Tuesday.

This was after the chairperson of Mbale, Mr Muhammad Mafabi, revealed that some people, who he did not name, wanted to grab the ministry's land that houses the mechanisation centre, but the district council fought against it.

Mr Tumwebaze applauded the leaders for protecting the government land but also acknowledged that cases of land grabbing are rampant.

He said the centre is part of the 18 facilities, which will be constructed across the country in a bid to ease access of agricultural mechanisation equipment and services.

"This will be a one stop point for acquisition of all agricultural mechanisation services in this region. All the equipment units will be deployed here for farmers," Mr Tumwebaze, said.

He explained that agricultural mechanisation will lead to transformation, which will result in increased productivity.

"Currently, there are less than 5,000 tractors in the country, not enough to spur mechanisation and employment," Mr Tumwebaze said.

The construction of Bungokho Zonal Centre follows the completion of Agwata in Dokolo District and Buwana in Mpigi District.

The centre will serve farmers in Mt Elgon Sub-region, parts of south Teso, Bukedi and Sebei sub-regions.

It will house workshops, service bays, fabrication and welding, bodybuilding and spraying, assembling, and maintenance of the agricultural equipment and machinery.

Mr Boniface Okanya, the project coordinator from the Agriculture ministry, said the centre will carry out testing and certification of the agricultural equipment and machinery. "This will curb faking and obsolete machinery importation," he said, adding that works are scheduled for completion in September.

"The farmers will pay 40 per ent of the cost to access the machinery from the centre," he said.

Mr Mafabi said the centre will agricultural productivity.

"Many farmers have been depending on traditional and ancient tools and equipment. But now, this will change and improve productivity," he said.

The Resident District Commissioner of Mbale, Ms Asumin Nasike, urged the locals to support the project for social-economic development.

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