Greece highly benefits from water buffalo farming, as the industry is gaining more and more ground, while products such as milk, yogurt or meat are getting increasingly popular across the country, providing a satisfactory income to the farmers.
According to Vasilis Bambidis, professor at the Alexander Technological Educational Institute of Thessaloniki, buffalo farmers have 25% less costs than cattle farmers, since they do not have to use any kind of special food for the animals.
Water buffalo farming is ideal near lakes or rivers, especially in northern Greece. Most farmers are located near Lake Kerkini in Serres. In fact, there are a total of 30 water buffalo farms across Greece (4,000 animals), and 20 of them (3,000 animals) are located near Lake Kerkini.
Before World War II, there were at least 70,000 water buffalos in Greece, explained Bampidis. However, their numbers increased dramatically, reaching a total of 384 animals in 1984, due to immigration. In the 60s, 70s and 80s, numerous Greeks left for other countries, thus abandoning their farms.
Only five out of the 30 farms are actually producing buffalo milk, which is known for its beneficial effects on the human body, especially for people with allergy problems, psoriasis, eczema or lactose intolerance. Furthermore, fresh milk is especially recommended for people who are physically weak or sick.
As for meat production, the professor noted that buffalo meat is much richer in protein, compared to cattle meat, while is also naturally low-fat.