RAJSHAHI, Sept 26: Buffalo rearers in the char areas under Lalpur of Natore district are in great difficulties due to shortage of fodder.
According to sources, for more than five decades, people of char villages of Kazipara, Deborpara, Bilmaria, Budhpara, Chandpur and Madhupur have been rearing buffaloes at their farms and earning their livelihood.
Due to untimely flood and incessant rainfall, the farm owners were facing an acute shortage of fodder. Moreover, due to the inundation of grazing land, those buffaloes were being attacked with various diseases for want of green grass and leaves.
Many of their livestock were also dying by being attacked with diseases, complained the farm owners. They further complained, the aftermath of the flood, the price of fodder increased but the price of livestock fell. In such a situation, farmers of char villages were losing their interest to rear buffaloes.
Owners of buffalo farms Jewel, Montu, Rafique, Bacchu, Selim and Kabir of Kazipara and Tilakpur villages informed, no land at the char villages are kept fallow anymore and they have to travel a long distance with their livestock to graze and feed those.
All their livestock have been kept in the Dadurchar area of Pabna district but with the char being inundated by floodwater, they were taking back their livestock to their villages. Now they would drive their livestock to graze to feed those with wild grass grown at the fallow land of North Bengal Sugar Mills at Azimnagar in Natore.
They said the veterinarians do not want to visit the char villages for the treatment of diseased livestock. As a result, the disease affected buffaloes die and they incur loss.
The farm owners at the char villages informed, despite facing numerous problems, they were trying to cling to their ancestral profession. But in the recent past, at least 20 buffaloes of the char villages died after being attacked with diseases due to incessant rain and flooding by the river.
Even after informing about their livestock being attacked with diseases, the veterinary doctors refused to visit the char villages. As a result, for want of proper treatment the buffaloes die.
Moreover, during the time of flood and rain, the price of buffalo also falls and they have to sell those at a low price apprehending further loss due to possible attacks of the remaining buffaloes with diseases.
Raihnaul Islam of Bilmaria village demanded financial assistance to the affected buffalo rearers and to encourage the farmers through training to rear more buffaloes.
Farmers informed a milch buffalo can yield 10 to 15 litres of milk. There is a tremendous demand for dense, tasty buffalo milk which contains more cream and vitamins. Each litre of milk is sold at Tk 80.
Mustafizur Rahman, upazila animal resource officer of Lalpur expressed his helplessness in tackling problems of buffalo rearers.
He said the post of veterinary doctor and five posts of field workers of the upazila remained vacant for over the last 10 years. As a result, even being informed of the spread of disease of buffaloes at the char villages, they failed to send any veterinarian there.