Determined to avoid the high costs of preparing his farm in Jowhar, Hassan Ali Addow, a mechanic, built his own tractor using recycled car parts and a water pump.
Hassan, 52, borrowed $2,000 from relatives and took four years to complete his tractor. It cost him $4,500 in total and he has yet to repay the debt, but he estimates that it will save him money in the long run.
“I have a three-hectare farm in Jowhar, and I normally pay 900,000 Somali shillings to rent a tractor for just three hours. I also pay a total of 350,000 Somali shillings per day to three labourers helping me to plant the farm,” he said.
Hassan’s tractor has one piston and uses fuel economically to carry out multiple functions, including ploughing, hoeing, and sowing seeds.
“It has a hoe to dig narrow furrows and shallow trenches for planting the seeds. It also has a ploughing tool to turn the soil before sowing the seeds. I also designed it with a tool to till the farm and two buckets on either side of the tractor, where seeds are dropped into the prepared soil,” Hassan explained.
He tested the tractor on his friend’s one-hectare farm, which he planted successfully, and on his own farm. Next, he is planning to use the tractor on his family’s four-hectare farm in the rural area of Middle Shabelle region, as the Deyr rains have already begun.
He believes his tractor will help farmers in Jowhar to reduce their expenditure and plans to rent it out at 280,000 Somali shillings ($11) per hour, which is just under the normal hourly rate of 300,000 Somali shillings.
Hassan, a father of 13, owns a small garage in town and has worked for 40 years as a mechanic. He builds machines such as maize grinders on order, helped by his eldest son and his brother, both of whom he has trained on the job.