A tractor renovated by Farmcare agricultural apprentices at Reaseheath College, Cheshire, will be helping food production in Uganda thanks to Farmcare – the UK’s biggest lowland farming business (which used to be owned by the Co-op) and the Somerset Wetland Wildlife Foundation.
Farmcare provided the tractor, parts and apprentices needed to restore and service the aged Leyland 270 tractor, while Reaseheath delivered the training as part of the Level 3 apprenticeship programme.
The tractor and cultivation equipment, which included a mechanical inter-row weeder and a box drill, travelled to Mombasa, Kenya, by sea. It then went by road to Uganda, where it was handed over to Ssalongo, the leader of the Degaya commercial group of small subsistence farmers.
This is a not-for-profit organisation run by former farmers Jim and Kay Barnard, who support small farmers in Uganda.
Tim Cleaver, an apprentice who works at Farmcare’s Ashby St Ledgers Farm, Warwickshire, and Ian Watson, farm manager at Farmcare’s Louth Park Farms, flew to Uganda to help train the farmers on the tractor’s operation and maintenance.
Mr Watson said: “This was a great opportunity for the apprentices to put the skills and knowledge they have gained to the test and at the same time support a worthy cause. Hopefully the tractor will make a massive difference to the lives of smallholders and their local community in Uganda.”
Mr Cleaver said: “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see grassroots farming in a different part of the world. It is going to be an amazing experience and I’m looking forward to using the knowledge I’ve gained during my apprenticeship to help other farmers.”