CABINET MINISTERS in charge of economic affairs yesterday set aside a budget of Bt5.8 billion to protect and increase the number of water buffaloes after recent reports indicated the species would become extinct in five years.
They also earmarked Bt1.05 billion to boost the production and enhance the quality of buffalo milk.
The proposal for the funding came from the Agriculture Ministry, which reasoned that the number of buffaloes and cows in the country had dropped rapidly and that the industry was in dire need of support.
The ministry pointed out that buffalo farms were run by small-time farmers, who often suffer a shortage of workers and a lack of land available for farming.
The Agriculture Ministry also cited reports from the Livestock Department, which revealed that the number of buffaloes in the country had dropped by 29.46 per cent from 1.19 million in 2010 to 840,064 in 2014.
As a short-term measure the Cabinet issued regulations prohibiting the slaughter and export of female buffaloes, and will later fund the development of buffalo-breeding farmers as part of a move to protect and conserve local culture. The Cabinet also allocated Bt16.27 million for the protection and breeding of local chicken species for domestic consumption.