Buffaloes always had an essential role in Asian culture, especially in a large agriculture country as Thailand. They provide not only animal traction, fertilizer, and even fuel but also a food source. However, with the introduction of the mechanical plow, buffaloes had lost its importance in farming as well as its human attention. As a result, the Buffalo has suffered a significant drop in number, from six million in 1987 to only 1.8 million in 1999, according to the Thai worldview. Moreover, its population kept declining and reached an alarm state in 2008 with another 26% drop compared to 1998.
To save this national symbol, Thailand Government has launched an innovative program called Royal Buffalo Bank. Thai’s farmers can now borrow buffalos from the bank, use them, give them three years of care and make them breed. In return, the farmer must give back those babies to the bank to increase the population.
To boost the project, a buffalo school has opened in Bua Yai by Plernpis Thongklad, the promoter and regional director of the program. In Bua Yai, the program has successfully recovered the buffalo number. Thai’s farmers pay now more attention to them again since they understood it is cheaper and easier to maintain than a mechanical plow.