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Ugandan university designs low-cost multipurpose tractor

Uganda’s Makarere University has designed the MV Mulimi – a multipurpose tractor for African farmers

The MV Mulimi has been created by the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) in the Makarere University, following the rising need to develop low-cost farming solutions in Uganda.

The tractor, according to officials from CAES, can thresh maize, pump water from a depth of seven metres to a height of 33 metres, plough gardens, transport 20 adults and their goods for a reasonable distance as well as charge a mobile phone.

Head of Operation Wealth Creation General Salim Saleh, who officially launched the tractor, said, “I am pleased that Makerere is moving to solve problems that tie up the farmers in poverty. We hope that the MV Mulimi will resolve their problems, and therefore, demand that several more similar vehicles are produced.”

Produced by a team of multiple researchers and scholars led by Professor Noble Banadda, the MV Mulimi has been gaining traction from heads of governments and key decision makers. Saleh indicated that in order to enhance scope for improvisation, 20 units of the MV Mulimi be ordered solely for demonstration purposes. Some suggestions were made by CAES deputy principal Dr. Goretti Nabanoga, which included creating a shelter for drivers to shield them from harsh weather conditions.

The tractor has been made with materials sourced locally from Uganda. The development cost was around US$8,850. Following some other feature additions, the tractor’s cost in the open market after production would be around US$5,560, said Saleh. However, the private sector is being encouraged to invest in the tractor upgrades.

The Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has pledged to increase the budget for agriculture in the East African nation to more than US$295mn, but there are concerns about how deep the funds would go, right to the grassroot level, added Saleh. Through projects such as this, officials hope to enhance economical solutions for Ugandan farmers.