10 May 2021
In Balıklı and Yakupköy rural neighborhoods of Balıkesir’s Altıeylül district, buffalo breeding has an important place, while the return of buffaloes grazing on the pasture to their barns creates images reminiscent of African documentaries.
While the buffalo herd of more than 5 thousand in the region was released into the pasture early in the morning, colorful images were formed at the time of the buffaloes returning home in the evening.
The buffalo herd, returning to their barns by passing through the stream between the pasture and the neighborhood in the rural district of Balıklı, reminded the great migration of the ox-headed antelopes in Africa.
The residents of the neighborhood wait for their buffaloes to return home by the creek and accompany the buffaloes who know the way to their barns. The residents of the neighborhood spend time watching the water buffaloes pass through the stream.
Water buffalo breeding, which constitutes one of the biggest incomes of Balıklı and Yakupköy rural neighborhoods of Balıkesir, is living its golden age with the support given since 2010. It is seen that the number of buffaloes, which were around 1,500 in the region in the 2010s, has exceeded the number of 5,000 today.
The breeders, who say that there are more than 1,500 buffaloes in the rural district of Balıklı, state that the milk, cream and yoghurt they obtain from the buffalo are in great demand throughout the country. Noting that the production of buffalo milk, buffalo cream and water buffalo yogurt is increasing day by day, the producers state that they want to ensure that water buffaloes are transferred from generation to generation.
Ali Çırpıcı, a fourth generation buffalo producer in the rural neighborhood of Yakupköy, said, “I am a water buffalo breeder in Yakupköy. I am the fourth generation. My grandfather, my father, and my son, after me, are also producing water buffalo. There are 750 buffaloes in our village. Water buffaloes go out to cattle at 08:00 in the morning and return to their barn at around 17.30 in the evening. In our village, we mainly work with cream made from buffalo milk. For the last two years, we have been evaluating buffalo milk as yogurt. The price of buffalo milk is around 10 lira per liter, and cream is between 90 and 110 lira per liter. The livelihood of our village is mostly based on water buffalo production. Buffalo breeding is carried out in 52 households throughout our village. While we used to plant crops such as tomatoes, peppers, and beets in our fields, now we have started to plant wheat and corn for silage. While everyone is closed to their homes during the pandemic period, we, as water buffalo producers, are on the spring. Because we have to feed our animals. “We continue to produce even during the restriction period because the government exempts the farmers on this issue.”
Halit Börekçi, who is engaged in water buffalo farming in the Rural Balıklı District, said, “We are dealing with water buffalo farming in our village. We are trying to continue the production of buffaloes left to us from our grandfather and ancestor. Our village is predominant in the production of buffalo breeding, we have around 1,500-2 thousand mandams. One thousand 100 of them go to the meadows, the rest stay in the stables. We make yoghurt and cream with milk from buffalo breeding. Our state supports the production of buffalo well, God bless you. We established a union in our village in 2011. At that time, we had 300-350 mandates. Fortunately, we have nearly 2 thousand mandates at the moment. Of course, the biggest reason for this is that the support is good, “he said.
Stating that they make buffalo milk cream, yoghurt and sell it to Balıkesir and the surrounding districts and provinces, Börekçi said, “We are eating a slice of bread from here. We are very pleased to be a buffalo. After getting a license during the pandemic period, milk started to go everywhere more and the demand increased. The pandemic period has been more beneficial for those of us dealing with water buffalo milk. Currently, the price of buffalo milk is 7 lira in wholesale and 10-12 lira in retail. Buffalo milk has now begun to be used in ice cream. The benefits of buffalo milk are also many. “They say that milk has a great benefit. They say that it is a substance that prevents even cancer. More emerged in the pandemic. There is a great demand for buffalo milk.”