Hre people raise buffalos to escape poverty

(VOVWORLD) - The Hre have been living for generations in the Truong Son range, in western Quang Ngai province. The buffalo is a sacred animal in their religion and a precious asset because it provides them emotional comfort and contributes to their economic well-being.
Hre people raise buffalos to escape poverty  - ảnh 1Buffalos are a commodity of the Hre. (photo: VOV)

After the harvest, the Hre people in Dai Lam hamlet gather to talk about how to raise buffalos for the best profit. Pham Van Noi, a local farmer, says he earns a good income from raising buffalos.

“My family was poor. Since I started raising buffalos, our life has gotten better. We have a solid house. Our children are able to go to school,” said Noi.

Pham Van Khai of Lang Giay hamlet says that in 2016 the government gave his family a male buffalo. He and other local farmers were trained to build stables, take care of buffalos, and grow grass for them. The buffalo owners have bred buffalo herds. Khai’s first male buffalo has fathered 40 calves, and for the past 5 years he has been selling buffalo meat. He currently has 7 buffalos. 

Khai says that many families in Lang Giay hamlet have escaped poverty and become better off thanks to raising buffalos.

“Buffalos are very important for mountain people. Since my grandparents’ generation, any family with a buffalo has done well economically,” he said.

Hre people raise buffalos to escape poverty  - ảnh 2The Hre raise buffalos to escape poverty. (photo: VOV)

The Hre make up 80% of the population in Ba To mountain district in Quang Ngai province. Since 2016 the district has helped local people raise buffalos for meat to boost their income. 

Nguyen Thanh Luc, Deputy Director of Ba To district’s Agricultural Service Center, said the Hre have changed from free-range husbandry to raising stabled buffalos.

“Buffalos are a commodity. Besides raising buffalos to plough the fields, local people sell buffalo meat to earn a good profit,” Luc said.

Ho Trong Phuong, Deputy Director of the Quang Ngai provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said, “In 2018 we launched a project to cross-breed the Murrah buffalo and local breeds to create bigger, stronger, more resistant buffalos adapted to a mountain climate. Our goal is to replace the local inbred buffalos.”

The buffalo which is such an important factor in their economic life is also important in the Hre’s religious life. The Hre consider buffalos the biggest family asset and the most sacred animal in their worship ceremonies. By tradition, two pairs of buffalo horns carved out of wood are displayed at the two ends of the roof of their stilt houses.       

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