The buffalo is one of the ancient animals associated with the history of Iraq, and was known to the Sumerians, Assyrians and Babylonians.
During the past years, this animal was affected by the events and disasters that Iraq witnessed, as statistics indicate a decrease in its numbers from 300,000 to 30,000 heads.
Buffalo is one of the important animals, as it produces milk and qayr, which are important products in Iraq, and are very popular, despite their high prices compared to other animal products.
This animal needs large amounts of water, as it is one of the animals that needs water and mud very much to keep its body cool, as the lack of water causes the animal to lose its fat and melts, and the salinity of the water causes blindness or weak eyesight, and with low water imports And the crisis of desertification and drought that Iraq is going through, a large number of them have died, which has negatively affected the agricultural and animal sector, especially in light of the presence of thousands of families living on this animal in southern Iraq.
In this context, environmental expert Ahmed Saleh said that “the number of buffaloes has decreased significantly, especially in the southern governorates (Maysan, Basra, Dhi Qar and Wasit) due to drought, which led to a lack of food, which forced the breeders to sell herds of buffaloes to butchers.” .
Saleh said, in an interview with “Sky News Arabia”, that “this loss can be compensated for if there are rainy years, in addition to providing government-subsidized fodder for farmers, adopting a winter and summer fodder system as in neighboring countries, and farming in other countries, and then import and convert it into fodder.
Buffaloes are a major and important resource for a large percentage of the population, and their death has led to the loss of many professions, most notably the seller of milk products, custard, cheese and milk, as well as drivers who transport these materials from the countryside to the city.
The drought and the decrease in the waters of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, especially in central and southern Iraq, prompted farmers and livestock breeders, especially buffaloes, to abandon their areas and resort to nearby cities, which caused damage to the economic and agricultural sectors.
The end of the era of “Hawr Al-Hawizeh”
According to specialists, the percentage of water in the marshes has decreased to levels that are not even enough for fish farming, as shallow water bodies have become unsuitable for buffaloes to live in, and this is accompanied by the weakness of tourism in the marshes, despite their inclusion on the World Heritage List.
In this context, Duraid Al-Anazi, an economist, confirmed that “the percentage of water in the marshes decreased from 25 to 30 percent, and the Al-Hawizeh Marsh ended after Iran cut off 3 to 4 rivers that flowed into it, while the percentage of the waters of the Tigris and Euphrates decreased, which is what It is necessary to dig wells in the Al-Hawizeh Marsh, to compensate for 30% of the water, which will contribute to restoring life to the marsh again.
Al-Enezi added, in an interview with “Sky News Arabia”, that “the over-drilling of wells has affected the amount of water in the marshes and the buffaloes in them, and to return water and buffaloes to the marshes, a plant must be planted on which buffaloes and fish feed other than reeds (spy), because the latter consumes large quantities of water. A large amount of water is sufficient to meet the need of 8 other agricultural products, so the marshes must be reconstructed and more productive and grafted types of buffaloes must be brought in, as well as the cultivation of plants other than reeds.
Iraq is currently experiencing a crisis at the level of local production, especially chicken, fish and vegetables, due to the high prices of feed and raw materials on the black market, which has prompted many of them to leave these businesses and migrate to the city in search of another job, amid warnings of an increase in the number of families leaving the countryside towards the cities, in search of jobs other than farming and animal husbandry.