Learn about the Thai culture of the buffalo and rice cultivation

The water buffalo has always played an important role in Thai agriculture. The water buffalo mostly found in Thailand have been classified as the “swamp” variety. A fully-grown buffalo weighs about 400 – 600 kg. In Thailand, the numbers of buffalo have dropped dramatically during the past decade due to industrialization. Large rice paddy areas were sold to industries to become factories or housing projects. Rural youth in large numbers moved from agriculture to industry for employment. In modern times, powered machinery has replaced many jobs formerly carried out by men or the water buffalo. Buffalo are considered as old-fashioned animals. The demand for buffalo meat has increased as the population continues to grow. Chemical fertilizer has replaced all-natural organic fertilizer. The trend towards smaller farm families has also contributed to the decrease in the number of buffalo.

Since the year 2002, HM The King has started a Royal Water Buffalo Bank project by purchasing water buffalo destined for the slaughterhouse. As this initiative is conducted twice a year in Thailand, during Mother’s Day (Queen Sirikit’s birthday on the 12th August) and Father’s Day (King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s birthday on the 5th December) over 1000 buffalo have been saved from the slaughterhouse, with 200 water buffalo surviving each year. In addition to the lives of buffalo being spared, environment in rural communities around the nation continues to prosper without pollution caused by farmers switching towards the use of fuel-generated tractors.

There are 158 million buffalo in the world (FAO statistics (1996)). Asia is the native home of the water buffalo, with 95% of the world population of water buffalo, with about half of the total in India. Many Asian countries still depend on the water buffalo as its primary bovine species. It is valuable for its meat and milk as well as the labour it performs. The horns of the water buffalo are used in many handcrafted items including knives, bowls, bows, and even Japanese swords. The buffalo’s value increases day by day in contrast to machinery. The reasons: They need no costly fuel, never rust, and they reproduce!

Visit our Buffalo Show, ride on the back of one of these gentle creatures, and watch how they negotiate the rice paddy during ploughing and respond to the commands of the buffalo drover. Assist with the planting of the young seedlings in the calf deep water/mud! Experience the backbreaking stance when you plant your seedlings. Can you plant them as neat as the professionals?

The Buffalo and Rice Culture show is included in all park packages. Avoid disappointment – book online here.

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