Pashu Sandesh, 17th December 2017
The night is when Cows and Buffaloes return home following a day of grazing, there is one breed of Buffalo which starts its grazing night. Yes, you heard it right. Recently getting the status of a new breed of Buffalo, Banni Buffalo has trained themselves as the night grazers. People still mistook them for the ever popular Murrah breed.
Lifeline of the Community:
Banni Buffaloes are the pride and lifeline of the people of Kutch Gujarat where it is a native breed. There are more than 5lac Banni Buffaloes in Gujarat of which around 1 lac 50 thousand are present in Kutch alone. These Buffaloes have trained themselves as the night grazers to avoid the searing daytime heat of the Kutch region. These buffaloes are so trained that they don’t require any supervision. They depend solely on the grazing for their feeding needs that makes them a highly economical milk producing option. Banni buffaloes are the lifeline of the Maldhari community of the Kutch who for ages are involved in the breeding and upgrading Banni Buffaloes. During last financial year itself, around 30 Maldhari families of the Bhuj Taluka have contributed around 529341 liters milk to the Kutch Milk union which paid them around 2 crore rupees which makes around 7lac rupees for each family.
Why they are so unique:
Banni Buffaloes are the hardy breed with a very short calving interval of around 12.24 months which is quite less compared to other Buffalo breeds. An average Buffalo on an average produce around 15-16 liters of milk per day and the average yield is around 3000 to 35000 liters per lactation. These qualities make Banni a very profitable option for Farmers. With the recognition of Banni as a separate breed, its popularity is ever increasing.
Recognition of Banni as the separate breed is because of the efforts of the Maldhari community backed by the Dr. K P Singh and Dr. B PM Mishra of Gujarat Agriculture University along with the NGO Sahjeewan who organized and motivated the community. Maldhari community has over the years maintained the purity of the breed along with continuous breed upgrading. This should be an eye-opener for the policymakers who see salvation in the cross-breeding as the only tool for producing high yielding breeds.