What is Laos Buffalo Dairy?
A social enterprise started by two families who decided to have a mid-life crisis with a “Purpose rather than a Porsche”! The first and only buffalo dairy in Laos, producing a wide array of artisanal cheeses & products; including mozzarella, blue cheese, feta and ice-cream to name but a few. Offering visitors to Luang Prabang a unique opportunity to try these delicious cheeses and “get up close and personal” with beautiful buffalo and other farm animals. Visitors to the Dairy are helping support the rental of buffalo providing local farmers an additional income stream, improved feeding, veterinary care and breeding program to revitalize the local buffalo genetics.
Visitors also help fund workshops for local farmers on animal care, organic methods for feed production and how to milk a buffalo, so they can improve the nutrition of children in rural villages.
Sustainable Cheese: A New Industry in Laos
A socially-responsible enterprise consisting of a commercial dairy and production facility to make products such as yogurt, cheese and ice cream for local and overseas customers.
By cooperating with people from villages in and around Luang Prabang by renting their buffalo, which provides the families with a regular income stream from an underutilised resource, namely female buffalo; male buffalo being sold for meat. We built a facility for milking their buffalo and keeping them well-fed, healthy and safe.
Using an IndieGoGo platform, we are launching a crowd funding campaign with a goal to raise $30,000 to purchase 20 pregnant female buffalo for underprivileged farmers who cannot afford to buy their own, with the purpose of offering 20 pairs of calves to farmers in need. The farmers will also receive training and $500 cash to ensure these animals reach a healthy maturity. Calves will become buffaloes, and buffaloes will have calves, and a cycle of opportunity will begin. We will also be cross-breeding these buffalo with the Indian Murrah Buffalo which will improve the milk yield in future generations, ensure better calf survival rates and help the farmers make a higher profit from their larger and more productive buffalo. This breeding programme is being done in conjunction with the Lao Agricultural Institute.
The rest of the herd, approximately 200 buffalo, will be rented from various villages, milked daily for a period of approximately 6 months at a time, then returned to the village until they are ready to calve again and the process will start anew. During this time, we will care for, feed, and vaccinate all the buffalo and their calves. The villagers will retain ownership of their animals.
The daily running and operation of the dairy allowed us to create 30 full-time positions, which we offered to the farmers who have been helping us on the land since the beginning.
Our cheese-making production facility produced it's an inaugural ball of mozzarella in April 2017, created 5 full-time positions and is equipped to pasteurize, homogenize and store the milk collected from the buffalo on a daily basis.
We produce, package and store the goods until ready to ship. The product range currently includes yoghurt, mozzarella, ricotta, ice-cream and cheesecake. For full list click here.
Distribution channels are set up to local restaurants, hotels and supermarkets in Luang Prabang and throughout Laos. As production increases, we will export to markets in China & ASEAN.
Products may also be sold directly to the public and tourist groups that visit the dairy and production facility. An interactive mini-farm, training centre and café will be available for tourists visiting the farm.
This socially-responsible business is funded, owned and managed by foreign investors and 2 Lao nationals. We work in conjunction with local Lao villagers and provide the following benefits:
- Local farmers receive a new source of revenue by renting their buffalo to the dairy, totalling approximately $45,000 USD per annum.
- Improved care for buffalo and their calves and a breeding programme to improve calf survival rates.
- Rental income to villagers for land required for the dairy and production facility.
- New income and skills for the community members who will be employed by the business, in the dairy, production and administration.
- Workshops conducted at the dairy to provide more practical experience for teachers and students from the Northern Agricultural College.
- Internships in the production facility for local women in order to acquire skills and work experience to give them access to the tourism job market.
- In conjunction with Souphanouvong University an initiative to turn waste products into Bio-Gas and train local farmers on how to implement this in their own homes.
The company is featured as one of the best 10 adventures in the world by Forbes!
Click here to find out more!
Ban Muang Khay, Luang Prabang, Laos
See Tours in Lao Buffalo Diary