Tractors parked at Masindi district local government premises. They were meant to be given to farmers.
Despite being delivered to benefit farmers, until now, six tractors remain idly parked at Masindi district headquarters.
In August this year, President Yoweri Museveni, directed that the tractors be delivered to the district to benefit Gukwatamanzi Cooperative Society and Melchizedek Kanaginagi in Pakanyi sub-county and Masindi Sugarcane Growers Ltd (MASGAL).
The tractors from the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) were delivered after President Museveni ordered for the establishment of a Bunyoro region agricultural service centre.
Representing the Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) chief coordinator, Gen Caleb Akandwanaho alias Salim Saleh during a meeting at Kinyara Social Club with Masindi sugarcane farmers in August this year, UPDF’s Maj Gen John Mateeka from OWC announced that the tractors would lessen some challenges farmers faced in line with planting their crop.
In the meeting, Mateeka also announced that the centre would be established at Kihonda Demonstration Farm in Pakanyi Sub-county, Masindi District.
The launch that was officiated by the Minister of Agriculture, Vincent Ssempija saw the ministry deliver six tractors, ploughs and harrow discs. The minister promised 40 more tractors to be delivered soon.
One tractor was allocated to Kanaginagi, three tractors to MASGAL and the rest to different farmer groups. However, since then, the tractors remain parked at the district headquarters though farmers are ready to use them.
Today (Thursday), during a district council meeting, Joseph Ogaino Wamaani, the production committee chairperson reported to council that an injector pump valued at Shs3m was stolen from one of the tractors.
He wondered why the relevant district authorities failed to hand the tractors to the beneficiaries.
“I wonder why the concerned district authorities are not handing the tractors to the beneficiaries. Are they waiting to see more parts to be stolen from the tractors before giving them to the beneficiaries?” he asked.
Ogaino urged the authorities to hand the equipment to the beneficiaries so that they can be used next season.
Responding to the matter, the Masindi district LC 5 chairman, Cosmas Byaruhanga told council that police were investigating how the injector pump went missing explaining that this occurred when security officers who were guarding the premises were redeployed to Hoima during the by-election of the woman Member of Parliament.
“The injector pump got lost on the day when police officers who were providing security at the district headquarters had been withdrawn and taken to Hoima for the just concluded woman Member of Parliament by-elections,” said Byaruhanga.
However, the chairman said the tractors would be provided with maximum security.
The chairman pledged that there would be no more stealing of another part from the machinery.
Byaruhanga also explained that the district authorities are waiting for a communication from the National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) secretariat regarding the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed to effect the handover ceremony.
He also said that the tractors could not be given to the beneficiaries without trained operators who finished their course last Friday and received by the district today (Thursday), thus, asking council for patience.