The implication of agricultural mechanization on rice production in Pabbo, Amuru District
Rice production in Uganda has been increasing in recent years and Pabbo, Amuru district has been highly known for its potential of producing rice in the Northern Region. However, many of the farmers producing rice still employ the use of rudimentary tools for production and operate on a subsistence level. The government of Uganda for the last decade has come up with programs to support farmers in agriculture. This study was therefore carried out to examine the implication of agricultural mechanization on rice production in Pabbo, Amuru district with specificity to the government initiative of provision of free agricultural mechanization. A total of 152 respondents were randomly sampled from four villages/cells within the study area. A questionnaire approach was used for the collection of data and analysis was done using SSPS. Results revealed that most of the respondents used tractors and animal draught implements (ox plough) for land preparation of the rice fields making a total of 73.9 percent (28.9% for tractors and 44.7% for ox-ploughs respectively). The yield of rice per hectare was 0.6-1 t/ha lower than the reported average yield of 1.7 t/ha. The rice price varies between 2,500-5,000Ugxper kilogram of milled rice. Farmers using ox-plough and tractors experienced higher yields per hectare of rice as compared to those that used rudimentary implements. However, their use did not have a great impact on reducing production costs of rice production. Lastly, in the future, weeds control and management methods should be studied in this study area and recommendations made as this was one of the farmers’ concerns registered during the respondents interface with most of the farmers associating the factor to hugely contributing to the increment in production cost in terms of labour requirements. Further studies also needs to be conducted on the aspects of fertilizer application and the soil characteristics within the study area which already from the transect walk conducted attested to the looming signs of exhaustion.