This report uses mapping data to examine the spatial relationships between poverty, livestock production systems, the location of livestock services, in order to ensure that government investments in the livestock sector benefit smallholders and high-poverty locations.

Key Findings

While the maps and analyses in this report are primarily designed to demonstrate the value to decision-makers of combining social and livestock-related information, they also support the following conclusions:

  • Maps showing milk surplus and deficit areas can highlight geographic differences in market opportunities for poor dairy farmers and help target knowledge dissemination, market infrastructure investments, and service delivery to dairy farmers.

  • Maps showing animal (and human) disease risk by livestock production system can help target and prioritize areas for intervention. The impact of disease on livestock and their owners differs geographically because the role of livestock in peoples’ livelihoods varies among production systems.

  • Mapping poverty, livestock production systems, and distribution of disease vectors such as tsetse allows a better understanding of how the disease affects livestock owners in terms of livelihoods, welfare, and food security.

Executive Summary

Livestock represents an essential part of Uganda’s agriculture, culture, and economy. While the growth of Uganda’s total agricultural output has declined, livestock trends are up considerably. The total number of cattle, sheep, and goats more than doubled between 2002 and 2008, and the number of pigs and chickens grew by 88 and 59 percent, respectively. Beef and milk production both increased by 8 percent in 2008 alone.

Livestock are particularly important to the subsistence agriculture on which seven out of ten Ugandans rely for their livelihood. While income from livestock provides only one of many sources of income for rural households, people typically rank livestock as their second or third most important means of livelihood. It is not surprising then that over 70 percent of all households in Uganda owned livestock in 2008. Indeed, smallholders and pastoralists dominate the livestock sector. Farming households with mixed crop and livestock production and pastoralists together own 90 percent of Uganda’s cattle and almost all of the country’s poultry, pigs, sheep, and goats.

Uganda’s policymakers have acknowledged the importance of livestock to household incomes, the achievement of national food security and the Millennium Development Goals, as well as to employment creation and poverty reduction. Thus, as part of its National Development Plan covering 2010/11-2014/15, the government intends to boost meat and dairy production by increasing its investments in improved breeds, water infrastructure for livestock, and better management of rangeland and forage resources.

Rationale and Approach

Ensuring that government investments in the livestock sector benefit smallholders and high-poverty locations will require more evidence-based local planning supported by data, maps, and analyses. Mapping a Better Future: Spatial Analysis and Pro-Poor Livestock Strategies in Uganda is intended to address this need. To do so, it compares the latest 2005 poverty maps with maps of livestock data from the 2002 population and housing census and the 2008 national livestock census. Using these data, it examines the spatial relationships between poverty, livestock production systems, the location of livestock services such as dairy cooling plants, and livestock disease hotspots.

By providing illustrative examples of maps that can be developed with these indicators and analyses of what they mean for policy, this report demonstrates how information on the location and severity of poverty can assist livestock sector decision-makers in setting priorities for interventions.

Similarly, decision-makers concerned with poverty reduction will see how comparing levels of poverty in a given location with maps of livestock indicators can inform efforts to fight poverty.

This report is intended for a variety of audiences, including analysts and decision-makers in the livestock and dairy sectors, personnel involved in livestock research and advisory services, officials involved in national planning and budgeting, and civil society and nongovernmental organizations. It is motivated by the fact that, while there is a growing body of knowledge about Uganda’s livestock sector, comparatively little is known about the interrelationship between livestock and poverty. Two factors have contributed to this knowledge gap: (1) Household surveys undertaken to date in Uganda have not managed to break down household income into its various components so that an explicit link can be made between welfare and the role of livestock at the household level; (2) Subnational poverty and livestock data for small administrative areas have only recently become available.

The spatial analysis approach taken in this report provides a way forward. It suggests that by integrating more detailed information on livestock distribution, animal husbandry and veterinary service provision, disease incidence, and poverty, planners can more effectively design and target livestock management interventions and policies so that the benefits reach a greater proportion of poor communities and the costs associated with land-use changes or new restrictions on livestock use do not disproportionately affect the poor.


Strengthening the supply of high-quality spatial data and analytical capacity will provide broad returns to future planning and prioritization of livestock sector and poverty reduction efforts. Priority actions to achieve this include:

  • Fill important livestock data gaps, regularly update data, and continue the supply of poverty data for small administrative areas.

  • Strengthen data integration, mapping, and analysis through regular and focused training that promotes understanding of the whole livestock production system.

Promoting the demand for such indicators and spatial analyses will require leadership from several government agencies, including the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Ministry of Local Government, and National Planning Authority. Actions in the following three areas carry the promise of linking the supply of new maps and analyses with specific decision-making opportunities:

  • Incorporate poverty information in livestock-related interventions and in regular performance reporting for the livestock sector.

  • Incorporate livestock sector information into poverty reduction efforts.

  • Incorporate poverty maps and maps of livestock production systems, disease risk, etc. into local decision-making.