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From office to a sugarcane plantation

“The joy of retirement comes in those everyday pursuits that embrace the joy of life; to experience daily the freedom to invest one’s life-long knowledge for the betterment of others; and, to allocate time to pursuits that only received, in years of working, a fleeting moment.” – Byron Pulsipher

Aliira Simon who worked for Kinyara Sugar Works Limited from 1993 to 2012 retired into sugarcane plantation farming in Kinyara, Masindi district after he received his NSSF retirement benefits in 2013.

Simon whose NSSF benefits were UGX85 millions called for an emergency family meeting after receiving his NSSF benefits to discuss on how to use it. Many business ideas such as erecting a residential house or buying a car many more were suggested but the money was not enough, therefore, they settled on investing in a sugarcane plantation

“For one to be able to succeed in any farming business, one must have enough land. I bought 23 hectares and leased 64.8 hectares of land. That’s how I invested my benefits because I knew that without enough land, this would have been a poor investment,” Mr. Simon says

In Kinyara, sugarcane is a contracted crop implying that Kinyara Sugar Works Limited gives a contract to a farmer for him to be able start growing and supplying sugarcane. Kinyara goes on to distribute seed canes and some money in form of fertilizers to all its contracted farmers.

The sugarcane plantation that started with an initial investment of UGX85M in October 2012 produced its first sale worth Ugx 250m in 2015 and Ugx 220m in 2016. Mr. Simon has continued to buy more land for him to able to plant on a large scale

Compared to other businesses, sugarcane growing too has its own challenges. Mr. Simon decries of fire as the main challenge to the plantation. These fires are either wild fires or intended fires set by hunters with an aim of scaring animals and fellow farmers who are always clearing their garden after harvest.

Despite the prevailing challenges Simon appreciates NSSF for chasing illiteracy out of his home. He has been able to educate his children and those of his fallen siblings up to a graduate level. Secondly, he employs over 30 employees on his farm hence improving the welfare of the community members

Simon, who is not sure of what the rest of the contestants are doing, is very optimistic about the ultimate prize money in the NSSF Friends with benefits season 3 campaign. And this is because he has ably invested all his benefits and made incredible returns and therefore can account for his money.

Unlike many old people, Simon realizes that age is slowly catching up with him and therefore, he anticipates to construct rentals in Kampala for him to be able to have a stable source of income that can sustain him during old age.

“Some people do not save because they do not have but many of them do not save because they don’t care about their future. I wish to thank NSSF for helping some of us who would not have saved voluntarily, I therefore call upon all those who have not yet started saving with the fund to quickly do so because it’s the only the way one can be sure of a better retirement,” Simon said

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