Relating with farm employees

Author: Mr Michael Ssali. PHOTO/FILE

Very few commercial farmers can perform successfully without hired labour. Labour may be described as the mental or physical energy applied to an activity with the aim of achieving something good. 
In most cases commercial farmers cannot rely on their personal or their household members’ labour and they have to hire other people to assist them with work.

Such people are described as labourers. They may be needed all the time at the farm but in some cases they may be hired for specific activities, paid, and then dismissed after the work is done. For example coffee farmers usually hire more labourers during the months of harvesting. 
Extra labourers are needed to assist with picking coffee and drying it. Usually after the harvesting is done there is no work for them to do at the farm until the next harvest season. 

But there are such labourers as those helping with vehicle driving, weed and pest control, manure application, and pruning. Since such activities are carried out nearly all the time on the farm there must be some labourers always to do the work. 
So we have temporary labourers and permanent labourers on most farms. In some cases a farmer may require skilled labourers such as someone with a diploma in veterinary medicine or crop production. Such people are described as skilled labourers.
Labourers come with a cost to the farmer. They must be paid wages and the higher the wages the more they value their work. They tend to go away however if the pay is not attractive or regularly paid. 

The more skilled they are the higher they want their wages to be. They demand good tools and protective gear. It may sometimes be necessary to provide them with housing and medical care.  The challenge is that if you pay them high wages and provide good working conditions your profits might be lowered. Yet if they are not happy, some of them may steal from the farm and others may lose interest in work and perform poorly. As their employer it is necessary to treat them with love and kindness because they are important to your farming enterprise. 
Since they value their good relationship with you and know the farm to be their source of income they will have the needed commitment to their work even when you are not there to supervise them.

Mr Michael Ssali is a veteran journalist, 
[email protected]

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