Water buffalo are strong and can plow a field or pull a heavy load with ease. They eat weeds and grasses in areas that might not support other livestock and provide an abundance of manure for fertilizing gardens. Farmers can hire out their water buffalo’s pulling power to get extra income for medicine and school costs.
Water Buffalo Facts
· Water buffalo provide five percent of the world’s milk.
· With a water buffalo to plow, farmers can earn four times more than if plowing by hand.
· Water buffalo have big hooves with two wide, flat “toes” that help them walk in mud.
· A water buffalo is slow but steady, moving about three kilometers per hour.
· You can tell how old a water buffalo is by counting the grooves on one of its horns.
Dream became reality for Junior and Fe Lucero, owners of a tiny hillside plot. They studied sustainable farming and got a male carabao from the Heifer Draft Animal Loan Project. They began plowing an uncle’s acres, agreeing to pay him one quarter of the profits. Their first harvest yielded $800 – in Junior’s words, “The first time we ever had that much money.”
They paid back part of the water buffalo’s cost and bought materials to fix up their house. With the second harvest, they bought a young horse to haul loads. The following year, they bartered the mature horse for a pregnant female carabao, paid off their Heifer loan, and sold the male buffalo to buy more land. With the sale of the calf, they put electricity in their house. Fe says, “The light from the incandescent bulb was heartwarming, giving us signs of a better tomorrow.”
(Information provided by the Heifer International Living Gift Market guide and Heifer International’s Animal Crackers educational resource)