I was recently surfing the social media when I saw a farmer warning the public and his fellow farmers against fraudsters parading the idea of remote farming. Of course, there is a lot of remote working on the Internet, with people earning cash without leaving the confines of their homes. But isn’t it absurd that someone would be nursing the idea of finding quick, instant and effortless technological solutions to agriculture by just pressing some keys, with a few taps a tab or a phone’s screen or who knows? Somewhere!
This term is, however, not entirely strange as we are in a world where technology infiltrates every aspect of our lives, hence, why we are constantly bombarded with new ideas and innovations. One such idea that has captured the imagination of many is the concept of ‘Remote/Cellphone Farming’. But, let’s pause for a moment and examine this notion, critically. Is there really such a thing as remote farming, or is it just a clever marketing ploy? Cellphone farming, as the name suggests, implies the idea that you can use your smartphone to magically grow crops, raise livestock, or even cultivate a farm wherever you are without necessarily visiting the actual farm site and labouring. While it may sound intriguing and had gained some popularity, the reality is that there is no such thing as remote farming. It is just mere fantasy and here’s why:
1. Smartphones are not farming tools
Smartphones are undoubtedly powerful devices, capable of performing a wide range of tasks. However, they are not equipped with the hardware or software needed to cultivate real crops or manage livestock. Farming involves physical labour, machinery, and knowledge that smartphones simply cannot provide. Hence, why once you decide to practice farming, you must be ready to divorce the pleasures of city life and go and monitor your life investment. It is proverbially said that the ‘master’s eye fattens the sheep’!
2. Agriculture requires real-world expertise
Successful farming is deeply rooted in agronomy, biology, and environmental science, among others. It involves understanding soil quality, weather patterns, pest control, and more. These are aspects of agriculture that cannot be simplified into a mobile app or a virtual game that you can just enjoy from the corner of your room. You need to engage expertise conversations, talk to your workers, address your consumers; wear some gumboots and overalls, and get to see things for yourself.
3. Mobile apps are educational, farming is not
There are indeed mobile applications related to farming, but they are designed to assist real-life farmers in their work. These apps provide information on weather forecasts, crop management, and market prices, aiding farmers in making informed decisions. They are tools for education and support, not substitutes for the farming process itself. The younger generation especially, must see beyond the gamification of agriculture and dive into the world of real agriculture and real physical work of farm.
4. The importance of real agriculture
Agriculture is a fundamental industry that feeds the world’s population. No lazy man farms and harvests real harvests at the end of the season. The idea of cellphone farming could belittle the hard work and dedication of real farmers, who toil day in and day out to produce our food. It’s important to recognise and appreciate their efforts rather than indulging in the fantasy of remote farming. As a livestock farmer, for instance, you must learn to keep a separate set of records other than the ones your managers are presenting to you. There are times, for instance, when your need must arrive your farm unannounced, and see how your business is being managed! You must always know and see what is going on; in order to prevent unbelievable reports later or what is known in urban parlance as ‘stories-that-touch’.
In conclusion, while the concept of cellphone farming may sound fascinating, it’s crucial to separate fiction from reality. Smartphones are wonderful tools that can enhance various aspects of our lives, including agriculture, but they cannot replace the real-world knowledge and labour required for farming. It’s important to appreciate and support the efforts of our farmers, who feed the world, and use technology responsibly to assist, not replace, their vital work. So, the next time you hear about remote or cellphone farming, remember – it’s a myth, not a reality!