YUMBE – Aupi Community Cooperative farmers struggled for three years to find money to buy 200 acres of farmland.
Now, they can’t cultivate the huge acreage in the West Nile district of Yumbe.
They need tractors to open up the farmland but can’t find any to hire.
According to managers of Aupi Community Savings and Credit Cooperative Society, demand for agricultural products soared in Yumbe District spurred by the huge influx of refugees in need of food.
Farmers couldn’t match the demand for food since they didn’t have tractors to open up huge acreage of arable land.
The Board Chairman of the cooperative Tohaabubakar Ijoga said, “Aupi cooperative has committed members who are ready to practice commercial agriculture but due to inaccessibility of tractor hire services by the group, members have resorted to small scale agriculture for domestic use.”
He said the cooperative has only Shs 65 million, which is too little to buy a tractor.
Meanwhile, Leonard Okello, the chief executive officer of Uhuru Institute for Social Development, advised the management of Aupi Cooperative to apply for tractors through government programmes such as Operational Wealth Creation (OWC).
“Use the available government programmes to bail you out from poverty, e.g. parish model and OWC, which target to eradicate poverty among organized and focused members in the community,” Okello said.
Amana Small, a member of the cooperative, said the members’ reluctance to repay loans has held back the cooperative’s progress and capacity to own tractors.
She said if the cooperative owned a tractor; it would be easier for group members to hire it at a low cost compared to tractors hired from private individuals.
She said hiring a tractor costs Shs120, 000 per acre and it’s hard to place an order because everyone wants to hire that one tractor.
“Uhuru please help us with a tractor such that we practice commercial agriculture for economic transformation,” Amana said.
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