Improved Dairy Cows in Uganda: Pathways to Poverty Alleviation and Improved Child Nutrition

40 Pages Posted: 27 Mar 2014

Date Written: February 2014


There is limited empirical evidence on the linkages between agrotechnologies, poverty reduction and the pathways to better nutrition outcomes. The introduction and dissemination of improved dairy cow breeds in Uganda is arguably the most significant step taken to develop a modern and commercial dairy industry in the country over the last two decades. This study uses a nationally representative sample of Ugandan households to rigorously examine the impact of adoption of improved dairy cow breeds on enterprise-, household-, and individual child-level nutrition outcomes. We find that adopting improved dairy cows significantly increases milk productivity, milk commercialization, and food expenditure. Consequently, adoption substantially reduces household poverty and stunting for children younger than age five. These results are consistent with the perceived role of new agrotechnologies. Considering heterogeneity in farm size, we find that households with small farms will increase milk yield and food expenditure while also reducing poverty substantially due to adoption, and large farms increase not only own-milk consumption and commercialization but also nutrition outcomes of children younger than age five. This suggests that the nutritional benefits of adoption may not sufficiently help reduce child malnutrition for young children living on small farms. We argue that for holistic and sustainable improvements in broader welfare and nutrition outcomes, agricultural development programs should be accompanied with related programs on gender empowerment, nutrition education, and food safety and hygiene.

Keywords: Uganda, East Africa, Africa South of Sahara, Africa, technology adoption, productivity, child nutrition, poverty, impact assessment, poverty alleviation, propensity score matching

Suggested Citation

Kabunga, Nassul, Improved Dairy Cows in Uganda: Pathways to Poverty Alleviation and Improved Child Nutrition (February 2014). IFPRI Discussion Paper 01328, Available at SSRN: or

Nassul Kabunga (Contact Author)

Uganda Bureau of Statistics ( email )

Statistics House, Plot 9 Colville Street

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