His next step was to expand beyond his family land and hire other fields. Within a few years, he was in such a strong financial position that he was able to buy most of the land he had previously hired, and now owns 55 acres.
Alex is chairman of a local umbrella association for sorghum farmers, an NBL initiative that was set up in 2010 in conjunction with Enterprise Uganda. The association has 350 members, supports 3,000 famers and directly employs 40 people. Alex is proud of what the association has achieved: “In just three years, I’ve seen this association grow from one small rented room to owning a building, warehouse, processing machine, two tractors and four trucks.”
With these shared resources, association members are able to reduce labour and transport costs at harvest time.
Growing sorghum is not without its challenges; irregular rainfall and damage caused by weaver birds can contribute to production losses. But Alex and other association members are pleased to be among the many thousands of farmers in Uganda who are benefiting from the LEAP programme.
The lives of Alex and his family have been transformed, as he describes: “I am now able to meet all my needs in life. I constructed a house for my parents; and, most importantly, my 10 children – four of whom are in university – receive the best education this country can offer.”