Rice farmers in Agoro sub-county in Lamwo district are grappling with the lack of basic farm implements to continue production. The farmers lack implements such as tractors, howling, harvesters and rice milling machines that has left them at the mercy of middle men. They sell their unprocessed rice to middlemen at a giveaway price who in turn sale it highly.
James Tokwi, a farmer from Goloro village in Agoro sub-county says he has grown rice for over 10 years. Tokwi says that he almost has nothing to show to his family for his sweat. He says they always open the water channels manually to allow water to flow to their fields. Tokwi says there are also few tractors to open up the land making the process very slow. He also says that they are faced with financial constraints to expand production, which has left them operating at subsistence level.
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He has appealed to both the government and aid agencies to come to their rescue so that they can increase on rice production. Denis Ocan, another farmer in the area says the problem of howling machine and transport are more pronounced than the rest. He says they sell unprocessed rice at a very cheap price. Ocan says that they are charged exorbitant costs each time they transport their produce to Lira and other places where they can fetch better prices.
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Ocan says after the completion of the rehabilitation of Agoro irrigation scheme, government must provide the farmers with the necessary machines to process the rice both for the local and foreign markets. He urges government through National Agricultural Advisory Services to set some funds for the purchase of such machines to help the farmers process their rice.
He says through such schemes, middlemen who exploit them will be eliminated. Charles Lakidi, a farmer from Tegot Kwera points accusing fingers at Non Governmental Organizations operating in the area. He says several NGO’s promised to provide rice howlers to the farmers but up to now nothing has been done. He cites International Rescue Committee as one of the NGO’s that pledged to help the farmers but has done nothing. He wants the NGO’s who promise to act to save the situation.