A chance introduction to organic farming that brought Kao Yi-hsin (高一鑫) face to face with draft water buffaloes — used to pull heavy loads — impressed him so much that the 34-year-old is now promoting the practice of plowing fields using the animals instead of machines.
Kao said he moved to Changhua County’s Sijhou Township (溪州) last year to attend the Water Buffalo School, founded by Lee Chun-hsin (李春信), and was given a water buffalo by a local farmer named Hsu Jung (許榮), which he named Lala (拉拉).
Kao began working at the Sijhou Shangshui Eco-friendly Farming organization as a warehouse manager and used his spare time to take Lala to plow fields.
Photo: Yen Hung-chun, Taipei Times
The price to hire a tractor-pulled plow is NT$2,500 (US$81) per fen (about 977m2) of land, but he charged from NT$250 to NT$500 for plowing the same area, Kao said.
Using a water buffalo to plow fields means putting up with the weather and negotiating the animal’s temperament, Kao said, adding that sometimes he earned less than NT$250 per hour.
However, he took on the work not to make money, but to train Lala, he said.
A water buffalo is a partner, not a tool to make money, Kao said, adding that if an animal is treated well and talked to regularly then it reciprocates by offering its loyalty.
There is a lot to learn about water buffalo, as the animals can come down with colds or suffer from heatstroke, and there are certain types of herbal remedies that only the older generation know about, he said.
If the use of the animals died out in Taiwan, the nation would be losing a cultural asset, Kao said.
Kao said he is saving money to tour Taiwan and promote such practices, once Lala is more accustomed to plowing fields.
Kao said he was very lucky to find Sijhou, where local farmers were willing to give him a chance, adding that they not only asked him to help, but also taught him how to better control a water buffalo.
Sijhou Township Office Secretary-General Wu Yin-ning (吳音寧) said Kao’s willingness to promote the culture of plowing farmland with water buffalo should be welcomed by the public.
In a 2015 report in the Chinese-language United Daily News, Tainan official Chou Chih-hsun (周志勳) was quoted as saying that Tainan had 273 draft water buffaloes in 2009, but the number had dropped to 99 in 2015.
There were 19 water buffaloes in Yunlin County, the majority of which were at least 15 years old, Chou said, adding that while Pingtung County still had 236 of the animals, most of them were not used for plowing.
Without completed infrastructure and training, the expedited sale of new F-16s from the US could become a burden rather than a help, a military official said yesterday. Reuters on Thursday last week reported that Washington is looking to accelerate the delivery of 66 new F-16C/D Block 70 aircraft in response to what it sees as increasing intimidation by Beijing. Under the terms of the original US$8 billion deal signed in 2019, the US is expected to deliver a single-seater and double-seater for testing next year, then deliver the 66 new aircraft in batches of four or five from 2024 to 2026. The officials
SLIGHTS: Beijing intends to display pro-unification messages and prominently feature Taiwanese volunteers in its propaganda videos, an official said Taiwanese officials are poised to boycott next month’s Beijing Winter Olympics, an official with knowledge of the matter said yesterday, citing concerns that China would slight Taiwan during the Games. This year’s Winter Olympics are scheduled to open on Friday next week amid a diplomatic boycott by Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Lithuania, New Zealand, the UK and the US in response to China’s human rights abuses against Uighurs in Xinjiang and crackdowns on democracy advocates in Hong Kong. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official said that a Cabinet-appointed task force has determined that Taiwan’s delegation would abstain from the opening and
‘CHINESE STYLE’: Taipei residents do not want smart city efforts based on ‘centralized control, tracking and mass surveillance,’ the campaign’s initiators said Taipei City Councilor Miao Po-ya (苗博雅) yesterday said that her campaign against the Taipeipass (台北通) app has garnered almost 10,000 signatures since Friday, but exposed her to insults and threats by telephone and through social media. It seems to be a “coordinated attack,” as all the messages follow a similar pattern, she said, citing as an example one saying: “We love the Taipeipass. Do not block the smart city plan. Stop interfering with Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲).” Some people had left disparaging remarks and false information when signing up for the online petition, and there have been attempts to disrupt her
INCREASED COOPERATION: Part of the funding is to be used to further the aims of a Taiwan-US human resources development platform launched in 2015, a source said An increase of ￥100 million (US$878,765) to Japan’s annual foreign affairs budget is for “advancing the Japan-Taiwan relationship,” information published on the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Web site showed. The ministry’s budget for last year was ￥1.7 billion; it was increased to ￥1.8 billion for this year. The ministry wrote that the additional funding was to be used for “cooperating with allies and like-minded countries to safeguard the universal values of the international community.” Regarding Taiwan specifically, the ministry said that it was “responding to an increasingly complex security and economic environment,” and that it aimed to “strengthen diplomacy and cooperation