Agriculture Technology Development Centre (ATDC) has introduced a cheap hand-pushed multipurpose tractor which may save small-scale farmers more than Sh1,000 per acre in tillage costs.
Ronald Bosire of ATDC said the ‘walking tractor’, whose cost may be equivalent to three bulls, requires minimum skills to operate and can be used in various farm tasks.
“The walking tractor is a 10 horsepower machine. It consumes between five and six litres of diesel to till one acre. Based on the current cost of Sh74 per litre of diesel, a farmer will require between Sh360 and Sh440 to till one acre,” Bosire said.
This is thrice cheaper given that hand land tillage can cost up to Sh1,500 or more for one acre in some part of the country like Kisii.
To carry out the various chores, the tractor has attachment areas on which varied machines can be mounted and dismounted according to need, Bosire said.
“The tractor seeks to solve challenges facing small-scale farmers who cannot afford big machines. It costs Sh150,000. It can pull farm inputs and outputs of up to half a tonne when attached to a trolley. It can also pump water as well as drive a chaff cutter, among other jobs that require power,” he said.
Bull and bigger tractor comparison
The cost of local bulls used in tilling land cost between Sh40,000 and Sh70,000 depending on the weight and region. Rearing them also may require more cash, especially if the bulls are for land preparation only.
Bulls will also require more than one person while working.
A big used farm tractor in Kenya that is in good condition costs more than Sh2 million.
Besides the two metallic locomotion wheels, the tractor has another rubber pair for terrains that do not require strong ground grip.
A similar tractor that was introduced into the country early this year by another machinery firm costs about Sh200,000.
The machine has two parallel bars with a handle used for direction. It also has stick shifts used to engage the various gears in respect to need.
Bosire can be reached on +254722545196.
PHOTO BY LABAN ROBERT.