The Laos Buffalo Diary is an exciting socially-responsible business recently established consisting of a commercial dairy and production facility. They make products such as yogurt, cheese and ice cream for local and (eventually) overseas customers.
How did 2 families ever start to milk buffalo?
In 2014 two families travelled to Sri Lanka and loved the Buffalo curd available so when they arrived in Laos on holiday, they were surprised that in a country also full of buffalo, a dairy industry was non-existent. So ready for a change in lifestyle, they decided to move to Laos and set up a Buffalo dairy farm.
Sustainability is important
The venture is a sustainable one. The dairy cooperates with local villages by renting their buffalo, which provides the families with a regular income stream from an underutilised resource (female buffalo). Local farmers receive a new source of revenue, which will total approximately $45,000 USD per annum across all farmers. The farm creates jobs for approx 30 people as well.
The farm is expanding. Approximately 200 buffalo, will be rented from villages, milked daily for about 6 months and then returned to the village until they are ready to calve again and the process starts over again.
The farm and world-class kitchen
They have built a magnificent facility for milking the buffalo and keeping them well fed, healthy and safe. The Buffaloes are fed, vaccinated, and very well cared for, including their calves. The villagers retain ownership of the buffalo at all times. The farm is run to high standards with quarantine facilities in place and protective measures to guard against disease.
They have set up a high-quality cyclical kitchen to compartmentalize each stage of the production and trained local staff to make the cheese and other milk products such as yogurt, ice cream and cakes.
Teaching English to staff
Volunteer teachers provide English lessons to staff 3 days a week. Lao Buffalo Dairy also works with the Northern Agriculture & Forestry College providing workshops in areas such as artificial insemination and animal husbandry to agriculture students.
The entire farm is organic. Rice straw is used in the buffalo pens to keep flies down, making managing the enormous amount of manure much easier and this also provides a rich organic fertilizer which is used on the farm and also sold.
They are currently establishing a mini-farm, where tourists can come and experience the farm. Tourists can interact with buffalo, collect eggs, from Laos’s best chicken coop, and eat in the new cafe. This is due to open by 30 October 2017.
See http://www.laosbuffalodairy.com for more information.