Sunday February 25 2018

Walking tractors, a big deal

A farmer rolls a walking tractor. COURTESY

A farmer rolls a walking tractor. COURTESY PHOTO 

By Derrick Wandera

The use of machinery on your farm is definitely one of those dreams that every farmer would like to see come to pass.
A Walking tractor is one of those. The market provides a number of these and the leverage it creates in growing a farmer is irresistible. The basic knowledge of their usage and how they can be maintained is quite still lacking though. George Taremwa, a technician of farm tractors in Kisaasi says for one to be able to gain from the usage of any machine, they need to have some basic knowledge about what they are going to use.

How it works
A number of tractors are on the market but the walking tractor will give you the comfort to work with its size and demands. Their spare parts can easily be found and are cheap to purchase, according to Kevin Walter Kivumbi a dealer in the product along Jinja Road.
Kivumbi says the walking tractor is made in such a way that it can provide various purposes including irrigating, slashing and others.
“The walking tractor will give that multi-purpose provision. You can turn it into an irrigation tool by fastening the pump or making a slashing machine at its bottom,” he says.
“Alternatively,” he adds, “You can use its engine and its other parts as a grinding mill. These are not provisions that will be given to you by any other tractor.”
The tractor consumes 0.8 litres of fuel and in this case it uses only diesel engine fuel and oil. This helps in terms of durability and cheap costs as you work to produce your crops.

Maintenance
As other tractors will come with sophisticated spare-parts that would require much skills to maintain, Florence Nakigudde a tractor operator says this one comes with a tool box and upon buying some basic knowledge about how to maintain your tractor. “This tractor is not complicated and depending on where you buy it from, you are supposed to be given basic knowledge on how to change the oil and keep your engine in place. They also are also supposed to give you a two year maintenance warrant,” he says.
Kivumbi says for the first time, one can change oil after 50 hours of running but after this period, it can be changed after 100 hours.

Storage
Experts also advise that best practices such as storage of the machine, conditions under which it should be used and how to handle it could give you a long lasting machine.
“Make sure you keep the machine well since it deals with oil and fuel. A cool and dry place will make any machine long last long. Do not use in very rocky places if you must, then use it carefully,’ says Kivumbi.

The cost of the tractor
Kevin Han general manager says Horse Power (HP) dictates how much a tractor costs and how it is used. “The tractors with lower HP do not give you the efficient work that you want but the advantage they have is that they normally have a low fuel consumption and do not require a lot of input in terms of money,” Han says. The walking tractor comes in different sizes and strengths. The 16HP, the smallest goes for Shs8.5m in some ware houses, 18HP which is slightly bigger but gives more advantages and goes for Shs16.5m. There are however bigger tractors of about 90HP which are more expensive. Han says the 18HP walking tractor can accommodate the slashing equipment, the disc plough and the irrigation units. The 16HP can only handle the disc plough and the irrigation equipment. However the machine comes alone but there are other additional pieces of equipment that cost some additional money.
A disc plough costs Shs1.3m, planter Shs950, 000, slasher Shs1.5m and the irrigation pipes go for Shs250, 000 depending on the lengths you want.

Where to be found
The equipment can be found around Kampala road, there are also stores around Jinja road near Nandos and industrial area along Seventh Street. More stores can be found in the city center and the outskirts of the city.

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