Prior to the 1980s, milk production in Uganda occurred largely in two contrasting
production systems. In the wetter parts of the country, especially in the southwest,
there were a few large, mostly government-owned commercial dairy farms on
which exotic and cross-bred dairy cattle were kept in paddocks and grazed on
improved or natural pastures. In the drier eastern and northeastern parts of the
country, pastoralists kept large numbers of local cattle breeds, notably the Small
East African Zebu (SEAZ), under traditional extensive management systems.
Although the pastoralists marketed some milk, most was consumed by the
household. Cattle were also valued as an expression of cultural prestige and a
means of accumulating capital and meeting planned and emergency expenses.