More Than Income: Pro-Poor Livestock Development Policy in Uganda


Since 1996, Uganda has prioritised poverty eradication as its major development goal. This paper asks how livestock and the livestock sub-sector can best contribute to the overall goal of poverty reduction in Uganda, and in particular how best government can support that contribution. Drawing on fieldwork conducted in three agricultural districts, it describes the current livestock situation in Uganda in terms of the numbers, types and distributions of livestock, and then by elaborating on who keeps livestock in Uganda, why they do so, and what problems they face.

Based on this understanding, the paper questions the assumption that livestock subsector contributions to poverty reduction are necessarily mediated through increasing livestock production and livestock income. It argues that in focusing on production and livestock income, current livestock policy approaches pay insufficient attention to the wider roles of livestock in contributing to rural livelihoods, and thereby miss opportunities to enhance the contribution of livestock, and livestock development, to poverty reduction.

The paper then considers what this means for approaches to livestock development in Uganda, and wonders whether it is time for a national livestock sub-sector policy which states clearly the rationale for livestock development and the ways in which government expect it to contribute to its wider poverty reduction goals. It further suggests that Uganda’s Plan for Modernisation of Agriculture (PMA) itself, as currently framed, sends the wrong messages to the livestock sub-sector because it focuses on a production-, commercialisation-, and intensification-led approach. This means that, when interpreted literally, application of the PMA principles to the livestock sub-sector leads to policy and measures which are not pro-poor and would be unlikely to contribute significantly to the goal of poverty reduction.


Ashley, S.; Nanyeenya, W. More Than Income: Pro-Poor Livestock Development Policy in Uganda. (2002) 23 pp. [LADDER Working Paper No.8]

More Than Income: Pro-Poor Livestock Development Policy in Uganda

Published 1 January 2002