Farmers in Nwoya District have protested a decision by service providers to increase the cost of hiring tractors.
With the onset of rainy seasons and national shutdown, there is an overwhelming demand for farm tractors by thousands of farmers in the district to plough crop gardens ahead of the planting seasons this year.
Alfred Kilama, a farmer in Pawatomero East Village in Purongo Sub-County reveals that for years, a tractor was hired at 80,000 shillings only to plough an acre of land but the price has increased between 90,000 to 100,000 shillings.
Another farmer Evelyn Amony says tractor owners argue that the hike has discouraged her from hiring tractors to cultivate her gardens in which she intends to plant maize, groundnuts and rice for commercial purposes.
A section of operators who preferred anonymity revealed that the lockdown has attracted many people into farming and thus hiking the price.
Nwoya District Agriculture Officer, Alfred Kilama confirmed receiving complaints from aggrieved farmers and warned those involved in hiking to stop saying the 80,000 shillings of hiring a tractor has never been reviewed.
The Nwoya District LCV Chairperson, Patrick Okello Oryema divulged that practice is unacceptable and threatened that they will inquire into the fee hike and defaulters will be blacklisted
Recently, the Minister for Northern Uganda, Grace Kwiyucwiny noted that approximately 800 tractors are being operated in Nwoya, the largest fleet for mechanized agriculture for both large scale and subsistence farming compared to any other part of the country.