Turkey’s water buffalo population sees sharp drop
EDİRNE - Doğan News Agency
Turkey’s water buffalo population has decreased to 100,000 from 1 million in 15 years due to extensive losses in wetlands in Turkey.
Experts say the country’s water buffalo stock farming has suffered a huge impact due to degradations in Turkey’s wetlands.
Hadi Kayhan, the secretary general of the Turkey Brood Water Buffalo Stockfarmers Association, said in the last 15 years, the population of water buffalos had decreased to 100,000 from 1 million.
Edirne Chamber of Agriculture President Cengiz Yorulmaz said that with the losses in wetlands, water buffalo stock farming had “almost come to an end.”
“There is great encouragement for water buffalo stock farming all around the world, but they are all enhanced races. If we import those races we could improve water buffalo stock farming, otherwise we will reach the point of having to import water buffalo milk,” Yorulmaz added.
“Water buffalo care is really simple, it only needs to be looked after by one person. It is cheaper than cattle but the market is tough for us. Still, mediators are profiting by giving us cheap prices and the state of water buffalo stock farming in Turkey is worrying,” said Metin Karaslan, a stock farmer for 26 years.
The Food, Agriculture and Livestock Ministry has started the “Reclamation of Dairy Farms by Public” program to increase the population of water buffalos.
“The ministry is subsidizing 800 Turkish Liras per water buffalo. This has started to revive the stock farming. But this is not enough. Water buffalo milk cannot be bought right now,” Kayhan said.
He also noted that water buffalos were previously imported from Italy for two years but were stopped after diseases were determined.
“At first we were exporting to Italy, but then we started importing from Italy. We now have our branches in 24 cities,” Kayhan added.