Telephone farmers are those who are never present on the farm and trust their plans and everything to their employees. To find out what’s going out in the farm, they have to call their workers via phone. They hardly visit the farms to personally supervise the workers.
Running a farm without being physically present at least at a regular intervals often leads to a number of issues, which a mong them is decline in productivity.
Agricultural experts and some farmers have attested that telephone farming is posing big challenge to agricultural productivity. There are several problems associated with telephone farming as listed below.
It’s noted that telephone farmers are increasing because they are not taking farming as a business and thus wants to leave it to workers so they can concentrate on other businesses.
One would argue that he/she wants to do other activities in order to supplement other resources like cash into the farm, but the irony is even their sons and daughters who who could do this supervisory work no longer wants to stay in the village.
Pre-and-post harvest losses are also associated with telephone farming in that due to lack of supervision, poor handling of crops by workers leads to losses. Some even go to an extra mile of harvesting premature crops, dry them on bare grounds and they would get mixed with sand and stones. Crops at times are left outside and would be hit by rain. All these reduces quality of produce ending up fetching low prices or being rejected.
Reduced quality and quantity.
There’s also reduced production in yields. For example a farmer may notice reduced quantity of milk but with the same number of cows, feeds and water and then begin to wonder what could be the problem only to realize that the workers after milking would leave the cows unattended to in the farm with no water, feeds and go to play, have drinks or concentrates on their own business.
Difficulty in providing Extension services.
Efforts to provide extension services are thwarted because workers in the farm are cooperative in making use of expertise or taking advice, which could be easier when farm owners are present. Farm owners are therefore asked to be on their farms ones in a while to supervise their workers and be always in contact with extension workers for advice.
Providing expertise and advice on issues like disease control when both the farm owner and a worker are present becomes more meaningful and practical.
When farmers are told their milk have been rejected or poured because it’s contaminated, they do no efforts to find out what’s wrong and instead blame the authorities, accusing them of many things.
They fail to realise that their workers after milking, usually add water to inflate the amount of milk to get more money for themselves in the difference between the expected income what they expect to get.
This all is due to lack of supervision and they make enormous losses.
In all, it’s important for farm owners to supervise the activities of their farms, follow up on plans, seek expert advice from extension officers or consult them on particular issues.