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The Ankole Long-Horned Cattle of Uganda

With financial support from HIVOS (the Netherlands), PENHA-Uganda in collaboration with the League for Pastoral Peoples and Indigenous Livestock Development (LPP) and the Local Livestock for Empowerment of Rural People (LIFE) Network, carried out a study documenting the situation with respect to Ankole Long-Horned Cattle. The LPP website can be accessed by clicking here.

This study was as a result of PENHA’s participation in a workshop on “Managing Animal Genetic Resources in Africa - Strategies, Priorities, Livestock Keepers’ Rights, and the Way Forward”, held in Ethiopia in May, 2007. During the workshop, we were made aware that Ankole Long-Horned Cattle are among the breeds threatened with extinction.

Objectives of the Study

  • Documenting the role, value and significance of the Ankole long-horned cows and their keepers in the biological diversity and food security in Uganda.
  • Documentating the views of herders and their families on how they see the future of themselves and their cows
  • To sensitize the pastoralists (keepers of the Ankole long-horned cow) and the rest of the population about the importance of the long-horned cow and other indigenous animal genetic resources in the conservation of biological diversity.
  • Coming up with suggestions for local leaders, policymakers and other stakeholders on how best to support the keepers of Ankole cow to enable them to conserve the breed, and the genetic resources that it represents, in its natural environment.
  • Saving the Ankole long-horned cow from extinction by strengthening the indigenous communities who are the managers of the breed by linking them to the Livestock Keepers’ Rights Movement.

The Ankole Long-Horned Cow ia less productive in meat and milk than exotic (non indigenous) breeds, but better adapted to semi-arid conditions. The breed can endure seasonal movement and does not require expensive investments in water points and veterinary care – making it the mainstay of the pastoral economy.

Existing literature and research papers on the Ankole long-horned cattle were consulted. Discussions were held with people from Nyabushozi (a predominantly pastoralist area) about their views on the future and the need for the conservation of their Ankole Long Horned Cattle. Two consecutive meetings with herders were conducted at Sanga Sub-County. There were visits to herders’ homes as well as government farms, and a meeting was held with students and teachers of Lake Mbuuro Senior Secondary School. There were also consultations at institutions of higher learning, government farms and conservation institutions and ministries and with local leaders.

There were a total of 70 participants in group meetings, 92 secondary school students and teachers and a total of 22 others, including herders, veterinarians, researchers, conservationists and other stakeholders. 68 of those 184 people consulted were women or girls.  

  • Considerable discussion and awareness was generated locally
  • A report was produced, outlining the issues and challenges
  • A local language version of this document has been produced and is being disseminated among local herders.

The Launch of the report

The report, in both English and Runyankore, was launched at a meeting at Sanga near to Mbarare, in February 2010. A report of the meeting can be downloaded by clicking here (1,062 kb). The report itself can be downloaded in English by clicking here (1,477 kb) and in Runyankore by clicking here (1,403 kb).

Interviews after the launch were held with Elizabeth Katushabe, who led the research, and Emmanuel Kyeishe, a local Councillor and can be accessed here. (A fairly fast connection is needed to see the interviews.)