KAMPALA – For centuries people have engaged in crop and animal husbandry with basically two types of farming; sustainable farming and profitable farming.
Whereas sustainable farming relies on self-support and involves one growing enough to feed them and their family which involves use of rudimentary tools like the hand hoe, profitable [commercial] farming on large scale and involves use of more complicated tools.
The Agricultural Tools ClipArt gallery defines farming tools are agricultural implements for persons involved in the agricultural value chain right from ploughing the farm all through to adding value addition to make the product ready for food or business.
It is estimated that 90% of farmers in Uganda rely exclusively on hand tools and human labour to work their lands and that the percentage is higher for rural small-scale farmers [1997 IFAD/FAO/Government of Japan study].
The study found out that although women complained of fatigue and backache because of needing to bend over almost double to use the short-handled hoe, they still viewed that type of hoe as appropriate.
Mr Joel Cherop , an extensive youthful farmer in Kapchorwa says in Uganda, research has shown that most of the farming is done using only hand tools and poor agricultural mechanisation is one of the biggest hindrances to transforming Uganda’s agriculture from subsistence to commercial.
He explained that there are many types of farming tools or equipment, from hand tools and power tools to tractors and the countless kinds of farm implements that they tow or operate.
“Diverse arrays of equipment are used in both organic and nonorganic farming but this is dependent on which type of agriculture one is engaged in. Those engaged in subsistence farming in Uganda would use hand tools and those engaged in extensive farming for business embrace mechanised agriculture, which gives them good output in terms of commercialization,” said Mr Cherop.
He explained that farmers practicing mechanized farming in Uganda are using agricultural machinery such as tractors, combined harvesters, and planting tools among others as they conduct their day-to-day agricultural activities.
Mr Fred Namawa, the senior marketing manager F 7 B solutions, a company dealing in farming tools along Jinja Road, says poor farming tools will give you low yield.
“And use of poor tools is one of the biggest hindrances to transforming Uganda’s agriculture from subsistence to commercial,” said Mr Namawa added.
Eng Richard Cong, commissioner, water for agriculture says said almost all small-scale farmers in Uganda use traditional, rudimentary and obsolete technologies in agriculture, a major contributor to low farm output.
“In Uganda like many other parts of E. Africa, farmers are gradually adopting use of mechanisation, especially those venturing into commercialised agriculture,” said Eng Cong.
Reports from National Agricultural Research Organisations reveal that scientists at Agricultural Engineering and Appropriate Technology Research Institute, Namalere are making a number of agricultural tools, which they are encouraging farmers to adopt for better output.
Dr William Wogoire, the former director of National Coffee Research Institute says most of the tools in the farms are demand driven tools like if you are doing farming in the hills, your desire should be a hand hoe, a Machete, a spade, a slasher, a drag and a spade.
He explained that another farm tool is the water pump, commonly known as treadle, which is operated manually, and the ram pump mainly used by farmers living in mountainous areas.
He explained that there is also the compacting machine to enable ease when weeding as well as compacting fish ponds, the ripper for harvesting rice, rice planter and weeder for farmers in lowlands, and walking tractor.
Dr Wogoire says that harvesting tools are also key in farming and that these include different types of knives and sickles in use in different villages adding that even pointed sticks and old spear points fixed to handles are used for the harvesting of yams.
“There are also pruning tools. Farmers apparently make their own tool for pruning by passing a knife through a slit in a stick and tying it in place at a right angle and cutting and chopping tools which include mainly axes, machetes and pangas or matchetes,” added Dr Wogoire.
Farming tools suitable for low land areas
Mr Cherop says appropriate technology is innovation for persons involved in the agricultural value chain right from ploughing the farm all through to adding value addition to make the product ready for food.
He explained that appropriate agricultural technology applies to farmers throughout Uganda who are placed in low land areas and those engaged in commercial farming embrace mechanised agriculture, which gives them good output in terms of commercialisation.
He said farmers practicing mechanized farming in Uganda ought to use agricultural machinery such as tractors, combined harvesters, weeders and planting tools among others as they conduct their day-to-day agricultural activities.
Mr Cherop adds that farmers who are cattle keepers especially those in the cattle corridor could also employ ox-plough technology to till my land in preparation for growing crops maize, sweet potatoes, groundnuts and beans.
Mr Namawa says to ease work on farms, farmers need to buy some of the tools from F 7 B solutions, along Jinja Road, imported from out of the country like motorised machinery especially pumps that are run using diesel and mainly demanded by large-scale farmers.
A large scale Rice farmer in Dokho Rice Scheme Ms Hajjat Jamirah Nareba says farmers also use a groundnut stepper, which farmers can use for removing the pod and that others are oil threshers used for processing oil from groundnut, simsim and sunflower among others.