Conflict between Water Buffalo and Market-Oriented Agriculture::A Case Study from Northern Laos
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This paper is a case study of the decline of water buffalo husbandry under the pressure of land use change in contemporary northern Laos. Since 2000, with the spread of market-oriented agriculture and the implementation of land use zoning, fallow areas suitable for grazing have been squeezed leading to a conflict between grazers and cultivators. Local government has prohibited the former from allowing their livestock to graze freely in the areas designated for commercial agriculture, encouraging them to establish fixed pasture areas. These grazing lands have experienced a number of problems stemming from the difficulty of implementing co-management, and after several trials many of the grazers sold off their water buffaloes to traders. This is compounded by another incentive that pushes them to sell off their buffaloes: the development of buffalo meat distribution mechanisms. The demand for meat has risen steadily in densely populated areas where many the new migrants from rural areas have started to show a tendency to purchase foods such as buffalo meat. Commercial dealings in water buffaloes seem to have hit their peak around 2005. However, after the peak, the boom has been on the decline due to the number of water buffaloes falling sharply in rural areas leading to difficulty for villagers to continue to graze water buffaloes in both traditional and innovative ways.
- Japanese Journal of Southeast Asian Studies
Japanese Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 47(4), 451-477, 2010
Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University