Implementation of practical solutions to improve buffalo breeding development in rural areas of South Iraq
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Buffalo breeding is widely spread in rural areas of southern Iraq, especially in marshlands. In the Provinces of Basr ah, Dhi Qar and Maysan the buffalo represents the main source for survival of local people in marshlands. The paper shows the situation in these areas, remarking the main critical points for buffalo breeding development. A survey in 24 buffalo farms was ca rried out by the Department of University of Firenze to verify the situation of buffalo farming in southern Iraq (years 2014 – 2016). In particular the study shows problems related to the shortage of food for animals, to the lack of suitable structures and infrastructures, to the poor herd management by farmers. In the paper the main critical points, which compromise the success of the breeding, are pointed out, with particular reference to animal welfare, animal health and labour (care of animals and risks for workers). Solutions to mitigate the scarce results are indicated. In particular some practical interventions carried out during a project funded by Italian Agency for Cooperation and Development are presented and discussed. Such interventions refer mai nly to the application of feeding racks, systems for a safe capture of the animals, plants and equipment for heat protection. As conclusion, also in difficult and poor areas like Iraqi marshes, a correct design and a right application of simple constructiv e and plant solutions, with little employment of technological resources, coupled with a good training of farmers, can give a contribution to solve problems in buffalo breeding.