Preparing land for planting is one of the most important activities in the farming process. For whatever crop a farmer intends to plant, land has to be prepared.
Ploughing or ‘okukabala’ in Luganda is normally done a few days into the rainy season. In most cases, Ugandan farmers use the traditional hand hoe to plough the shamba.
Research shows that on average, this hoe takes more than a month to plough an acre. By this time, the area that the farmer ploughed first might be overgrown with grass.
The ideal tool for ploughing that every commercial farmer should have is a tractor-walking or heavy duty; however, because it is expensive, it is out of reach of most farmers in Uganda.
A tractor plough digs deeper in the soils, hence reaching the fertile, virgin soils. Comparatively, a hand hoe digs less than six inches at the most. The nearest affordable farm tool is the ox-plough. It is called the ox-plough because it is composed of a pair of oxen and a plough. To plough an acre, a plough needs just four days, and that is if it is used moderately.
The ox-plough is one of the oldest forms of agriculture mechanisation. The plough is attached to the oxen that then pull it. The farmer then pushes the plough’s hoe deep down the soil.
The plough digs into the soils as it moves along. Ploughs are not commonly used in the central and western regions; however, they are used by commercial farmers in the north and east.
For a set, a farmer needs two oxen, which are well built bulls most of the time. The best cows are moderate in size and short horned, like those indigenous in Teso and Karamoja regions. They should be well-fed to help in maintaining their energy levels.
To have a complete set, a farmer needs at least sh1.5-sh2m. The ploughs can be got from most agricultural machinery out lets across the country.