Makerere welcomes 2016 with a brand new innovation, the Farmers Multipurpose Tractor code-named, “MV Mulimi”
Invited guests pose for a photograph with MV Mulimi
It was a jubilant moment when the Head of Operation Wealth Creation Gen.Salim Saleh (Caleb Akandwanaho) launched the first ever Makerere University MV Mulimi tractor. The multipurpose-cost effective farmer’s tractor was launched on 31st December, 2015 at Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute Kabanyolo (MUARIK) with the aim of providing practical solutions to basic farm problems faced by small scale farmers in Uganda.
The function was attended by the Chinese Ambassador to Uganda, Mr. Zhao Yali, Makerere University’s Vice Chancellor, Prof. John Ddumba - Ssentamu, Lt. Gen. Charles Angina - Deputy Chief of Defence Forces, UPDF, Mr. Kaddu KiberuUganda Manufacturers Association, Executive Director NAADS Dr. Samuel Mugasi, Principals, Deans and heads of units from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences , Project PI, Co PIS, Technicians and Makerere staff among others.
MV Mulimi Project is a brain child of the Makerere University’s Department of Agricultural and Bio systems engineering under the School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bio engineering, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. The project was developed in collaboration with Purdue University USA.
The MV Mulimi development team is made of Prof. Noble Banadda as the Principal Investigator (PI) and co-PIs, namely Dr. Nicholas Kiggundu and Dr. Ahamada Zziwa.
The Principal Technician is Mr. Ernest Tibaku-Zira assisted by Samuel Mutesasira and Denis Nsubuga who are Agricultural Engineers from Makerere University.
The Principal Investigator Prof. Noble Banadda said the idea of developing a low cost multipurpose vehicle suitable for African conditions was conceived on his trip to Purdue University, Indiana in June 2014. The noble idea according to Prof. Banadda was finally realized in September, 2015 when the fabrication process began at the Agricultural Engineering Workshop at Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute Kabanyolo under the sponsorship of the Presidential Initiative Project.
The MV Mulimi PI. Prof. Noble Banadda giving a speech. In the background, the tractor being fixed on water pipes to demonstrate its task of pumping water for irrigation
The MV Mulimi tractor is a three-wheel vehicle built completely out of parts and materials available in Uganda at a total cost of UGX 19 Million. Most of the driveline and suspension parts are recycled from old cars. The vehicle is designed with flexibility to fit the type of cars and light trucks from which the parts are taken.
The Multipurpose tractor has been tested for and capable of performing five (5) tasks, namely; threshing maize to reduce postharvest losses; pumping water for irrigation; charging phones to keep farmers informed of Agricultural produce markets; hauling agricultural produce up to 1 ton and ploughing fields.
“With its capacity of 1.5 tones, this tractor has the ability of threshing a half tone in an eight hour shift. It can as well pump water from a depth of 7 meters to a height of 33 meters, transport 20 adults and their goods over a distance. The machine has a 5.5 litre capacity diesel tank and its fuel consumption is economical,” Prof. Banadda said.
The vehicle is 3.7m, 1.5m high and 1.8m wide its bed is wide 1m and almost 2 deep, giving a total cargo area of 1.9m2. Its bed seats and floor board is largely made of wood boards. The vehicle is designed to use a small diesel with engine capacity of 13HP to carry up to 2 tonnes.
Highlighting the projects prospects, the Dean, School of Food Technology Nutrition and Bio-Engineering (SFTNB) Prof. John Muyonga, expressed the college readiness to take the project to a prototype level through a piloting phase where the university can produce a number of MV Mulimi Vehicles.
Dean, Prof. John Muyonga
“What we have completed is a research project. We would like to take this a little bit further to a pilot phase. We would like to move from a prototype through a piloting phase where we can produce a number of these MV Mulimi vehicles, deploy them to farmers and see how they work under farmers’ conditions,” he said.
The Director MUARIK, Associate Professor Phinehas Tukamuhabwa said the MV Mulimi is a great achievement for both Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute Kabanyoro (MUARIK) and Makerere University College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES). He therefore congratulated Prof. Noble Banadda and the team for the innovation that will contribute to the transformation of agriculture in Uganda.
The Deputy Principal of College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) Dr. Gorettie Nabanoga commended Makerere for the great innovations that have made the institution attain her core functions.
The Deputy Principal - CAES
“I am extremely happy that Mak CAES is solving the challenges faced by farmers. We have undertaken research to help problems at the grassroots. Today is 31st December 2015, we are happy to usher in 2016; we are launching the MV Mulimi to improve agriculture in this country,” she remarked.
Makerere University Vice Chancellor Prof. John Ddumba-Ssentamu described the MV Mulimi Project as a confirmation that Makerere University is responding to the calls for modernizing agriculture with practical innovations.
“Mechanized farming is a step in the right direction for this country. Makerere University is proud to contribute towards the development of this wonderful innovation. It is well known that majority of our farmers carry out small scale agriculture on 10 acres or less with a small income. This limits their capacity to buy large scale agricultural equipment,” he remarked adding that:
“Ploughing fields is mainly by hoes and artisanal tools and hauling agricultural produce is by head and the fortune ones use bicycles and/or motorcycles, fetching water is in jerrycans, phone charging is a detriment to farmers. Distribution of water and storage of water on farm are real challenges. The failure to harness nature to provide water when it is needed affect farm operations leading to low profits from the farming enterprise. It was really satisfying to learn and see that this vehicle can aid in irrigation, The Professor observed.
The Vice Chancelor - Makerere
Prof. Ddumba-Ssentamu thanked the President of the Republic of Uganda H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni for his foresightedness in creating the Presidential Initiative on Science and Technology that has enabled Makerere University to deliver MV Mulimi. He also thanked Makerere University College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) family and the team that developed this tractor.
On behalf of the Uganda Manufacturers Association, Mr. Kaddu Kiberu thanked Prof. Banadda and the team for providing solutions to the common problems affecting farmers in Uganda. Mr. Kaddu however advised the team to consider the importance of specialisation when dealing with the manufacturing procedures.
“Vehicles are made all over the world, but you will never find one manufacturer making all the parts. There are different people in the car manufacturing process. So I expect the team to respect the importance of specialization,” he said.
Presiding over the function as Chief Guest General Salim Saleh applauded Makerere University as a relevant institution that has made research and developments in agricultural transformation and modernization. “I am pleased that Makerere University has taken a step towards the reversing this unfortunate situation by producing a multi-purpose farm vehicle that will ease the farmers’ work.”
Gen. Saleh noted that farmers in Uganda have lagged behind in agricultural production due to the use of rudimentary tools when ploughing land. According to him, this type of farming has reduced the quality and quantity of the products yielded leading to loss of both local and international market culminating to persistent poverty and hunger.
Gen. Salim Saleh speaking during the launch
“Majority of Africans are small scale farmers who still rely on primitive production technologies that lead to production inefficiency. For those who somehow produce much, transport is a challenge and in case of maize threshing by hand is time consuming and torturous. When sticks are used to hit the maize, quality is lost hence affecting the marketability of the produce. Production is also dictated by availability of rainfall because of lack of irrigation facilities. I am happy that the multi-purpose vehicle is designed to address these very serious challenges that farmers face,” he said.
The Chinese Ambassador to Uganda, Mr. Zhao Yali congratulated Makerere University upon the wonderful achievement aimed at addressing the basic farm problems faced by small scale farmers in Uganda.
Gen. Salim Saleh (left) and Chinese Ambassador (Right) launching the MV Mulimi
“This innovation has been strategically unveiled. It has come at a time when the People’s Republic of China has released USD 60 billion for the implementation of the five pillars discussed during the Sino-Africa Cooperation Forum held in November, 2015 in Johannesburg. We are therefore ready to co-operate with you, work with you in order to achieve good results,” the Ambassador pledged.
Ambassador Zhao donated two tractors to Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute Kabanyolo (MUARIK) to enhance agricultural modernisation at the university’s farm.
The MV Mulimi Development team
MV Mulimi has been tested and capable of ploughing
A demonstration of MV Mulimi threshing maize
Journalist take pictures as the MV Mulimi Charges Phones
Report compiled by:
Public Relations Office,