The 2015 population of cattle, buffalo, goat and sheep are estimated to be 752,032, 121,504, 439,667 and 140,049 respectively. Traditionally these species are farmed as a side activity of small holder farmers. There has been a slow decline in the numbers of these species due to urbanization and economic reasons.
The animals are grazed on any available herbage on public roadsides, along the bunds of irrigation canals and among rubber or fruit orchards of the small holders.
Some of the cattle are milk breeds reared on the fringes of towns for local raw milk supply. Attempts to rear temperate dairy cows in environment controlled sheds have yet to be proven viable.
The lack of advancement in ruminant based livestock farming can be attributed to the country’s tropical characteristics of high ambient temperature and humidity all year round. More recent innovations have been the grazing of cattle under palm oil trees, where the environmental condition is more moderate, as an integrated activity. There has not been enthusiastic response from plantation owners to adopt this form of cattle farming as it involved significant changes in the plantation management procedures.