By Titus Kakembo
On March 3, 2023, Herbert Opapero, from Tororo district showcased a tractor he has innovated at the King George Memorial stadium.
“I used a Sankey motorbike engine which cost me sh1.1m. I bought the gear lever at sh180,000, the propeller at sh150,000, while sh300, 000 was spent on the steering wheel and sh500,000 on the pipes,” he says.
Opapero’s created tractor can open up land and plant cereals like beans, soya, groundnuts and cowpeas. The unit has four tyres and a miniature body which can plough an acre of land using fuel worth sh25,000.
“My Opapero fabrications have been around for about three years,” he says.
He was showcasing his machines to Tom Butime, the Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, and other government officials.
“The advantage of agricultural mechanization today is being able to go commercial using a facility built for this kind of terrain at an affordable rate,” Butime, a practicing farmer said. “This is one way of ensuring food security,” he added.
Lilly Ajarova, the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) CEO said farmers can make extra income through agro-tourism.
“There is a type of tourist who has a passion for farming methods and learning how other farmers do it. They will come to your home, rear cows, milk, or plough, and pay you for staying in your home,” she says.
However, for you to do this, your home and general amenities like bathrooms, toilets, and sleeping facilities must be clean.
Your home must also have electricity, water and health services. She also added that the volume of agro-tourists is on the increase in coffee, cocoa, tea, cotton, fish farming, and cattle-rearing regions in the country.
“Typically, the Iteso use ox-plough as a farm-opening method. As people switch to commercial farming, they would like to master animal attraction. It can only be done practically,” Ajarova says.
She urged the people of Tororo to emulate those in Ankole by promoting the Zebu cow as a tourist attraction, because it offers fat-free beef, has a strong hide and is a workhorse on the farm.