Dairy buffalo production
Water buffalo have been responsible for more than ten percent of world milk production for several years, but the potential of these animals has seldom been appreciated or recognised. One of the main reasons for this is that those who have a stake in rearing buffalo are generally poor and underprivileged, and not able to project the impact this beast has on their livelihood and well-being.
The word "buffalo" evokes a mixed response in North America, a large section of Europe, and in many other parts of the world where buffalo have never been considered a domesticated species. This animal has been identified as a zoo animal or a wild beast. However it is among the most gentle of the domesticated dairy species, which is obvious in lndia and the sub-continent where it is common to see small children handling large herds of buffalo.
Over time buffalo rearing has shifted from the backyard to commercial farms and large business enterprises. The immense popularity of buffalo milk and meat products has ensured that buffalo production has followed in the path of the dairy cattle industry. However for this species to perform optimally under the pressure of intensive production systems, buffalo breeds have to be improved, with clear focus on the desired output. This has not yet happened. Buffalo, although potentially excellent for both milk and meat production, still languish in obscure conditions of poor nutrition, breeding, management and welfare.