Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries has asked the government to increase funding for human resource development at regional agricultural mechanisation centres in the country.
Led by Committee Chairperson, Hon. Janet Okori-Moe, the MPs visited mechanisation centres in Uganda to appreciate progress made in transitioning from rudimentary to high-end farming tools.
“These centres lack enough staff; even the machinery available don’t have enough staff to run them. It doesn’t come off well bringing machinery without anyone to run them,” Okori-Moe said urging government to address the staffing challenges.
Okori-Moe applauded the government for setting up regional agricultural mechanisation centres and equipping them with good machinery, and asked the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries to fasten the process of assembling and dispatching of machinery so that a number of equipment can reach farmers quickly and easily.
“We not doing badly but we have to fill those gaps so that the mechanization agenda in the current mechanization center in operation are strengthened,” she said.
Hon. Abed Bwanika, a member of the Agriculture Committee shields his Chairperson, Hon. Okori-Moe from the rain as they met staff of Namalere mechanisation centre
Hon. Christine Akello (NRM, Erute County South) underscored the need to increase staffing at the mechanisation to enhance output and service delivery to farmers.
Eng. Thomas Epet, the Assistant Project Engineer said the challenge of limited land has hindered prospects for expansion, asking government to acquire more land in order to establish branches of these centres.
“Imagine Buwama Mechanisation Centre sits on 4.5 acres of land that is also leased from Buganda Land Board but this centre serves 26 districts of the central region of Uganda,” he said.
He told MPs that demand for the machinery is high, but staffing challenges hold them from effectively serving the community.
The agricultural mechanisation centres were established by government to ease deployment and maintenance of farming equipment in the different regions of Uganda, and to bring the service closer to people who previously had to make requests from only Namalere Mechanical Centre in Wakiso District.
These centres have a number of machinery that include excavators, self-loading tracks, heavy earth-moving equipment, bulldozers and mobile mechanization workshop trucks for use by farmers in the region.
The Committee also visited Sanga Zonal Agricultural Mechanisation Centre in Kiruhura District, Buwama Agricultural Mechanization Centre in Mpigi and Namalele Agricultural Centre in Wakiso District.