MAAIF Agricultural Mechanization Services

Within the guidance of the Mission “To Transform Subsistence Farming to Commercial Agriculture” the Government of Uganda set out to improve productivity enhancement through the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries by setting up the Department of Agricultural Infrastructure, Mechanisation and Water for Agricultural Production (DAIMWAP).

The interventions planned for and implemented through the Department in collaboration with other Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government are built towards the objective of the Department which is “To Support the development of agricultural infrastructure, water for agricultural production and mechanisation to enable achievement of sector objectives.”

Agriculture is one of the five strategic sectors, identified by the National Development Plan (NDP II) that will transform Uganda’s economy from low to middle income status. The Agricultural Sector employs about 72 percent of the total labour force (including the disguised labour), 77% of whom are women and 63% are youth most of whom reside in rural areas (Statistical Abstract, 2017).

With limited agricultural Mechanization, the sector accounted for 24.9% of the total GDP in the FY 2016/17 and the Agricultural exports accounted for 40% of total exports in 2014/15. Agriculture has a catalytic effect on other sectors and has capacity to play a critical role towards reduction of extreme poverty and hunger by sustainably intensifying production.

The Investment Plan (DSIP) of the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industries and Fisheries (MAAIF) gives priority to commercialization of the agriculture sector through development of commodity value chains.

The Agricultural Sector Strategic Plan (ASSP) 2015/16 -2019/20, priority 2 focuses on increasing access to critical inputs. The Ministry identified promotion of agricultural mechanization as a strategic intervention area. UBOS 2017 indicates that 43.2% (6.0 million) of the working population in Uganda is under subsistence agriculture characterized mostly by small holdings with farming system managed by small scale farmers who cultivate less than two hectares of land.

The preliminary survey that informed the 2014 Sector Plan and Investment Strategy pointed out that, over 90% of the farm production-to-market transactions are done using rudimentary, inefficient and labour intensive hand tools with household labour, 8% manage to use animal traction, and less than 2% can afford the use of tractors for basic farming. In the emerging production system tractors and their implements are critical for land preparation, planting, weeding, harvesting, and water pumping among many other applications.

The application of farm power to appropriate tools, and implements (farm mechanization) is essential due to the following reasons;

  • Improves the timeliness and efficiency of farm operations leading to cost savings and increased yields;
  • It reduces drudgery in farming activities thereby enhancing lifestyles and
  • It provides employment opportunities in communities and can lead to agriculture-led industrialization and rural economic growth Depending on varied circumstances,
  • It has potential to address the problem of shortage of labour arising from high rural-urban migration of able-bodied persons

What Agricultural Mechanization entails

Agricultural implements are devices attached to, pulled behind, pushed, or otherwise used with human, animal or mechanical power source to carry out an agricultural operation.

An “agricultural machine” is normally a mechanical device which has several moving parts; for example, combination seed drill powered by a tractor.

Agricultural equipment” generally refers to stationary mechanical devices such as an irrigation pump-set. It may, however, also be used in place of the word “machine” to describe a stationary thresher or grinder, for example.

The term “hire” usually refers to hiring a piece of machinery/equipment (e.g. draft animal plough, or tractor-mounted plough).

Contractor is one who is both hiring out machinery/equipment and providing an experienced operator to use it (e.g. oxen, plough and operators, or tractor, plough and operator).

Climate Smart Agriculture is an approach that helps to guide actions needed to transform and reorient agricultural systems to effectively support development and ensure food security in changing climate.

Leasing is renting out equipment to an individual to manage, operate or run as a business on one’s behalf

Nucleus Farmer: According to this guideline, a Nucleus farmer is a model farmer in a community whose farm is used to guarantee throughput for produce processing or used for research or breeding purposes.

Operational Guidelines for Access and Management of Tractors

Government is procuring tractors and implements for farming communities across the country under the MAAIF strategy for promotion of agricultural mechanization (ASSP 2015).

In order to ensure effective and sustainable utilization of the tractors and implements by the beneficiaries, there is need for operational guidelines. This document presents the operational guidelines for tractor access and management by benefiting farming communities.

It includes sections on the purpose, guiding principles, the beneficiary selection criteria and tractor management models. The guide also highlights the roles and responsibilities of the key stakeholders involved in the utilization, management, supervision and motoring of the tractors and implements.

Routine Services and Repairs

  1. Routine maintenance and service should be done as per the manufacturer’s recommended schedule and manuals.
  2. All forms of service shall be carried out by qualified and approved technicians.
  3. Breakdowns and replacement of worn out parts will be undertaken by operators/ technicians approved by the supplier at the time of delivery of the equipment.
  4. Breakdowns requiring major repairs, the operators/ mechanics attached to the tractors may seek for technical support from authorized Mechanical Engineer at the MAAIF/ Chief Mechanical Engineer MoWT on the required repairs

For the period under warranty, the suppliers or agents of suppliers of tractors will carry out the routine tractor service depending on the terms of the contract for the particular supply lot.

Tractor/implement Spare parts

Genuine or approved replacement parts should be acquired from authorized dealers.

Field Checks and Assessment

Tractor operators should check and confirm the fields/farms condition and acreage before they are ploughed. This ensures that correct acreage is ploughed and the equipment is not damaged by tree stamps, roots and rocks to enhance the service life of the tractors and its implements.

Service centres

  1. The equipment supplier/dealer will provide aftersales network to support all supplied equipment in a timely, efficient and cost effective manner.
  2. The equipment supplier/dealer will appoint local services agents in areas where the equipment are located.
  3. Beneficiaries should ensure that tractors are serviced/repaired by authorized personnel/service centers.

Tractor Deployment and Scheduling

The scheduling of field operations and services will be undertaken by the tractor management committee or relevant authority. The tractor management committee shall come up with terms of reference for deployment and payment for the services.

Safety of the tractor and implements

The beneficiary should ensure that the tractor and its implements are safe and secure at all times. The procuring entity should engrave the tractor and implements with relevant entity Logo and marks for identity. The beneficiary should provide a shade for the tractor and implements.

Role of the District Local Government

The District Local Governments:

  • Supervise the overall management of the tractors on behalf of the Government and the beneficiary community.
  • Provide technical guidance to the beneficiary through the district production office,
  • Mobilize, sensitize and train beneficiaries on the effective utilisation of the tractor hire services,
  • Through the District Commercial Officer (DCO) establish networks and linkages with produce buyers and other stakeholders for the purposes of marketing produce and securing advisory services,
  • Through the DCO guide the beneficiary in the utilization of funds generated from tractor hire services for its sustainability.
  • Keep an inventory of all the equipment and maintain updated records of the operations of the tractors and implements in the District,
  • Ensure that maintenance and repairs of the equipment are undertaken by the beneficiary,
  • Ensure safety of the equipment in conjunction with the beneficiary
  • Guide on smooth transfer or reallocation of equipment where necessary.
  • Arbitrate cases and disputes arising from the beneficiaries

The role of the Beneficiaries

The beneficiaries:

  • Mobilize farmers to demand tractor hire services
  • Formulate and enforce by-laws for operations, maintenance and repair of the equipment
  • Ensure timely servicing, maintenance and repair of the equipment,
  • Solicit and link members to markets for their produce,
  • Keep updated records for the tractor operations as well as the books of accounts such as the ledger, cash book and debtors’ register,
  • Plan and organise for capacity building of members in relevant themes in collaboration with key actors.
  • Ensure proper utilisation of funds generated from service charges, to meet costs for operation, maintenance, and keep a development fund
  • Liaise with relevant district departments (such as Community based services, production, natural resources and health) to ensure that cross cutting issues are mainstreamed in the operations and management of the tractor,
  • Keep an inventory of all equipment such as the tractor, plough, harrow, trailer and other implements.
  • Ensure tractors and related equipment are safe and kept in a good operating condition

Monitoring of the implementation

Monitoring of the implementation of the guidelines is carried out on a regular basis following appropriate indicators that were developed to monitor intervention targets.

Continuous monitoring was designed to adhere to MAAIF’s monitoring framework and the MAAIF monitoring team in collaboration with the Multi-Sectoral Technical Committee is responsible for monitoring the compliance with the guidelines and the relevant policies.

Ownership & Stewardship

The guidelines are intended to promote ownership, stewardship and sustainability of the tractors and implements by the beneficiary farming communities. To enhance ownership and sustainability for access and use of tractors and implements, there’re four (4) management models that can be used by the government and these include; Farmer organization, Nucleus Farmer/Private Tractor Hire Service Provider, Leased/Contracted and government owned and operated models

Tractors and implements shall be given to beneficiaries where there is a formally expressed and assessed need through the modalities in place.

Beneficiary Co-investment

This principle aims at leveraging funding from both the Public (Government) and Private (farmers) sectors towards farm mechanization. The benefiting farmer organizations will be expected to participate in the program by mobilizing and pulling of resources as co-investment. These resources may be in form of funds or ancillary infrastructure or equipment.

Equity and social inclusion

Support provided by government is for all. No discrimination along tribe, religion, gender, age, political, social and social-economic status. The support will be provided to cater for all regions and agro – ecological zones of the country where relevant agricultural value chains exist or are being promoted.

Capacity Building in collaboration with other MDA’s

Capacity building is provided to beneficiary farming communities to ensure effective operation, maintenance, management, ownership, and sustainability.

This capacity building involves all stakeholders including farmers, District Production Officers and Extension Staff, technicians, Tractor Operators and other value chain actors.

The trainings and performance enhancement activities of the Department embrace indigenous solutions and adopt cost-effective and economical training strategies.

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