Ugandan milk production is largely dominated by small-scale farmers who own over 90 percent
of the national cattle population (FAO 2004). In rural areas, where 96 percent of poor Ugandans
live (Okidi et al, 2004), up to about 60 percent of the households keep mostly indigenous cattle
(NADDS; King 2002). By far, the majority of milk production systems in Uganda are
characterized by (a) a ‘low input–low output’ approach, (b) livestock is not an important source
of cash, but a source of food, store of wealth and status symbol, and (c) milk demand is
increasing and driving more and more of these dairy farms to intensify and often to diversify as
to increase household returns.
Due to market forces first, and to higher competition for production factors secondly, the main
milk production systems in Uganda have been evolving seemingly in the same direction (towards intensification), but at different speeds.