Thursday, 8 September 2011


(A case of Nyabushozi County Kiruhura District)


The study aimed to establish the effects of commercialization of milk production on gender relations at household level. Milk the main substance food for the livestock communities.

Since 1990sc, the Ugandan government has liberalized its economy making it favourable for public and private sectors to invest in various business entrepreneurs. The dairy industry has been growing steadily since then.

The study examined: past gender relations in milk production; power relation in milk production and the impact of the commercialization of milk production on the welfare and social-economic status of the household and present household gender relations.

The findings revealed that gender disparities in various aspects of the commercialization of milk production mainly in milk control, capital investment, control of finances realized from milk sales and other benefits got there from.


1.0. Introduction

Until recently the milk produced in livestock communities was under the care of the women. It was women’s responsibility to make decisions about milk consumption and distribution. Women also used milk and milk by-products to exchange for other products and services essential for the household and for maintaining the friendship and socio-economic networking (Quam 1976 and Emunyu 1992). The authority over milk distribution held by women gave them considerable power and authority within the household.
 The economy of these communities is centered a round the cattle keeping. Cattle and their products serve as the basic means of livelihood for household survival. A major intervention like the commercialization of milk would most likely have an impact on household gender relations.  With milk commercialization, a number of questions can be posed. What is the socio economic status of household in the new arrangement? What changes does it make on the traditional role and status of women? What impact does the commercialization of milk have on the on relations between man and women? How do women and men view the changes? What impact does it make on the gender division of labour? What effects does it have on household food security?
Economic changes such as the introduction of cash economy early in the 20th century were responsible for the changes (Obbo 1980) particularly in gender relations. The increased demand for the cash resulted from a rapidly increasing population, urbanization (Walshe et al 1998). In pastoral households, surplus milk was easily sold for cash.
 Since independence in 1962, the Uganda government has introduced innovations in diary farming and set up diary corporations, cooling and processing plants in pastoral areas. These initiatives were meant to increase production and promote milk marketing as a means of consolidating revenue. Milk is now being sold in different forms almost throughout the country.
With the new diary farming methods, homesteads were established on a permanent basis such that men now operate from homes unlike in the past when they took cattle for open range grazing. With commercialization, milk is no longer a subsistence product for household use alone  but it has become a commercial product. This study think to investigate how the household economy changed in response to the new system of diary farming methods, the selling of milk and milk by-products.

In many instances, Government policies and programmes direct resources to male households heads assuming that associated benefits will be shared equitably between women and children (stamp 1990; Beneria and Feldman, 1999; Elson, 1994). It is important therefore to explore how major changes like the commercialization of milk affected men and women differently and in what ways they might have changed household gender relations. Against this background, the study is to use a gender focus to learn about changes in who does the work and who get the benefits.

It is possible that increased production and marketing are perceived as good development, but that new burdens are placed on women. Stamp (1990), Beneria and Feldman (1993) and Elson (1994) argue that these changes may weaken a woman’s bargaining position, thus creating new tensions in the household. This gender imbalance may be more pronounced in decision making at the micro level, the household.

1.2 Problem Statement

The commercialization of milk production has been promoted by the Government which has introduced new methods of dairy farming and set up dairy corporations to increase production, to promote milk marketing for household income generation and to generate government revenue.
Traditionally women in Ankole used to control almost all the milk and milk by-products. These developments of selling of milk and milk by-products, adopting new diary farming practices have had a major impact on the household production process. What is not clear is the impact of commercialization on the different members of the household, on their welfare and socio-economic status. Is the household better off then before?. The study will examine how the commercialization of milk production impacted on household gender relations, the welfare of the household members as well as the socio-economic status of men and women within the household.

1.3. Overall objectives

The overall objective of this study is to examine the effects of the commercialization of milk production on gender relations at the household level.

1.4. Specific objective

The study is aimed a achieving the following specific objectives:
1.                  To examine the past and the Present gender relations involved in household milk production.
2.                   To establish how the commercialization of milk production has affected the gender relations.
3.                  To investigate how the commercialization of milk production has affected the household welfare and socio-economic status of different members of the household.

1.5. Scope of the study

The study will be conducted in Nyabushozi county Kiruhura district. The sample population will be household members (wives, husbands, and to a certain extent children and the elderly), local leaders, milk vendors, cultivators and propitiators of milk marketing firms.

1.6. Significance of the study

The findings of the study will contribute to the information to public and private sectors and non governmental organizations which are involved in the promotion of milk production. Further, the study provides data to guide those making policy on the commercialization of milk production. The study provides data useful to policy makers and women organizations.


1.7. Operational definitions

In this study the following terms are used.
1.         Commercialization: a unit production for household income generation
2.         Household :- a unit comprising of members living in the same compound and eating together
3.         Gender: - socially constructed masculine and feminine roles and relationships.
4.         Gender relations:- relations between men and women
5.         Gender differences:- socially constructed concept referring to attributes, behaviour, expectations and roles of men and women
6.         Gender disparities:- refer to social differences between men and women
7.         Patriarchy:- a social arrangement in which men’s power is protected and promoted and women are subordinated. It is a structure that enables men to control women’ sexuality, fertility and their economic contributions
8.         Masculine:- refers to social qualities that are considered typical of maleness
9.         Feminine:- refers to social qualities that are considered typical of femaleness.
10.     Milk production:- milk and milk by-products
11.     The Bahima of Ankole:- the cattle keepers; the Bairu are the cultivators



2.1. Introduction

This section addresses related literature on the commercialization of milk production which determines milk marketing. The literature reveals that commercialization is considered to be a step forward to development but affects men and women differently. An attempt is made to analyze the effects of commercialization of milk from a gender perspective.

2.2. A Historical Perspective of milk production in pastoral communities

Milk is one of the nature’s balanced foods and the main food for the pastoralists. Among the pastoralists, walshe et al (1991) confirms that women have traditionally been responsible for the declining on the amount of milk consumed by the house hold as well as the quantity processed and sold.

Among the Bahima (pastoralists) of Ankole there were restrictions on taking milk in the household. A person who drinks milk does not eat vegetables foods. It was believed that if this happened, “the cows teats would be blocked” (karugire 1996). To safeguard milk, a woman would suspend taking milk during her menstrual periods. Vegetable food was alternatively given to her. It was feared that the cows would give forth blood like hers instead of milk (karugire 1986:40-41). Quam (1979) Found that women’s control over milk was emphasized upon entering the settlement of her new husband. She was allocated certain milk cows. The milk yields of these cows were for her to use in feeding her children and husband. As a woman’s family expanded, she was given milking rights to more cows. Enough cows were provided to assure her a steady milk supply and even when weaned, these cows remained under the woman’s control.

Quam (1986) revealed that women’s rights were fully recognized and taken very seriously. Should her husband plan to use one of these cattle for bride wealth, he was seriously opposed by the woman who held milk rights. Therefore social and cultural factors were strong protections for the women’s positions in the milk production process.
However with the commercialization of the diary sector and the subsequent adaptation to cross breed cattle, this social set-up was affected. For instance, it was hard to allocate one Friesian cow to a woman for her milking rights.

In many pastoralists’ communities, milk has been consumed abundantly because of its availability. Crotty (1980) found that people who lived at subsistence level adjusted their diets to the available food. The Germans and the Britons mostly consumed milk products. The Massai of Africa and the Mangols of Mongolia mainly ate livestock products. Likewise, the Bahima of Ankole did not appear to have been regular eaters of vegetable foods (karugire 1986:40).

In the Kikuyu community of Kenya (Issaji, 1967/68) says that milk was generally used in its fresh form and it was of prime importance after initiation when young men were supposed to develop mentally and physically towards maturity.

In pastoral subsistence economies, every household member was assigned roles which were essential for the survival of the unit. Men and women had dual functions. Family roles were integrated with economic roles. On gender division of labour and property ownership, Hay and Stricher (1984) reveals that men owned both the herd and other resources for consumption or exchange to support their families while women milked livestock and had limited rights over the herd. Women were allowed to look after livestock but could not decide what to do with it.

Meanwhile Oakley (1974) states that before the industrial revolution in Britain, the entire management of the dairy farm, including the milking of cows and the making of butter and cheese, was in women’s hands. Therefore, the management of milk was primary women’s responsibility which gave them considerable power and autonomy in the household.

 Among the Pokot, he whole family moved with animals in search of pasture (Emunyu, 1992). This gave them accessibility to the animal yields and the process that contributes to their production allowed a large section of the family to have a say in decision making about the livestock. While in Ankole, Taylor, (1962), karugire, (1986), and Walsher et al (1991) reveal that a part from women rearing children, they also concentrate on the cleaning of milk pots, churning milk, helping with the herding of calves and the collection of grass for the hut floor.

Men managed the herd welfare, organized access to pasture, water and health care. Most of the actual herding on open range grazing was done by children, boys in particular. In karamoja, females usually the young girls and the newly married women, did the actual milking and the elder wife controlled the distribution of milk (Emunyu, 1992). This authority that the women had gave them power and positions of responsibility.

The studies above clearly show that there was independence in the household. Every member had a role to play. The quantity and quality of milk production was dependent upon herd management. According to Quam (1976), the stock added to the household and managed by the herd owner could not be disposed off without the mutual consent of both husband and wife. Thus, these exchanges were good examples of how a woman could utilize her resources to maximize her own personal gain and by extension that of her household.

Besides milk production, there was barter trade which promoted socio-economic networking. This increased trade relations between cattle keepers and cultivators in exchange livestock products for wood products, pottery, iron implements and millet from the Bairu (the cultivators)(Taylor, 1962:28). In cities as well as in village, there were markets where entrepreneurs, mainly kind (Oppong 1987). Livestock products were between households transferred during neighbourhood feasts (Hudson, 1969). A man with cattle wealth could use part of it to such knives, spears and ornaments while women during the period of crop failure, could meet their grain needs by trading in livestock products with groups in areas that had sufficient grain (Quam 1976). The surplus was exchanged for other essential goods for household consumption. These goods would be used and shared by all members in the household.

2.3. House Hold Gender Relations

A household is viewed as that group of people who produce and eat together as one economic and social unit (Bullow and Sorensen, 1988); Stamp, (1990); Moser, (1994); and Elson, (1994). For the smooth running of the household, gender relations guide members to work and live together cooperatively. Barker (1994:3) considers gender relations to be different in terms of the interplay between historical practices that are distinguished according to masculine and feminine, social constructions that differentiate and circumscribe material outcomes for women and men. Gender behaviour is considered to be a social construction while sex is biological (Humm 1989:84).

Decision making is another important aspect of household gender relations, that is, a resolution of potentially conflicting preferences through a process of negotiation between household members (Kabeer 1994:109).

An examination of household decision making reveals that women are responsible for expenditures on food and are more likely to allocate resources within their control for the family. Kabeer (1994:107) holds that this goes beyond the issue of ownership and/or control of available resources. It has been shown that the commercialization of commodities often leads to a high incidence of ill-health and poor family nutrition (Musangi, 1977; Mumsen, 1992).

Micro-level research confirmed the existence of gender bias in intra-household distribution of food. It documented not only the existence of an increase of mortality in young age groups and among women in their reproductive years, but also provided evidence of gender related differentials in household health-seeking and nutritional behaviour (Kabeer, 1994: 101).

According to Kabeer (1994:100), altruism does not rule out welfare differentials within the household. One might suppose that those who produce more have a greater claim on household consumption. Thus, by virtue of women’s responsibility within the domestic division of labour, they may be seen to have practical gender interests in the provision of resources that meet basic welfare needs. The implication is that women world wide, particularly those from poor households; have to balance a multiplicity of household’s demands (Boserup, 1989, Kabeer, 1994). For instance, Hay and Stricher (1994), Agarwal, 1995), Boserup, (1989:106), and Kabeer (1994) give average statistical working hours of men and women.

In USA, the average working woman spends 80 hours a week on her paid employment and household work combined compared to 50hours spent by the average man. In Autralia, women do over 70% of the household work whether they have paid employment or not. In sub Saharan Africa, women are responsible for about 60% of agricultural production and 80% of food production coupled with traditional subsistence and domestic obligation which take up an additional eight hours or more a day (Agarwal, 1985).

Studies have shown that women in Uganda and Zimbabwe work longer hours than men (Agarwal, 1985; Boserup, 1989). New programmes such as the commercialization of milk sometimes fail to consider the work that women do. Assumptions about the structure of the household have informed and generally moulded a range of different policies that have overlooked women’s needs and interests. Thus gender inequalities have been ignored within the macro-economic development disclosure (Kabeer 1994:95) bearing in mind that socio-economic roles of both men and women were circumscribed, not by the imperative of biological explanations, but by the manmade cultural norms. Therefore the household gender division of labour overloads women and this affects their health may confine them to the private sphere where their enormous economic contribution is invisible. This makes unrecognized women’s household labour different from other factors of production.

2.4 Commercialization of milk production

Having recognized the importance of milk today, government in various developing countries are showing keen interests in improving their dairy production. Milk and milk by-products provide families with food and income, help families earn money for education, clothes, health care and better housing (Heifer project, 1994). Mbarara District now leads in number of milk processing plants with five and in milk production accounting, 34% (120.5 million litres) of the total milk production  (the monitor newspaper, July 06,2003:17).

2.4.1. Dairy Firms and Commercialization of Milk

Overtime, important changes have occurred in farmer’s choice of marketing alternatives. Richard and Uhl (1990) found that in America, less than 1% of the milk is retailed direct from the farmers to consumers, 99% of the milk produced on farms today enters the commercial marketing channels as whole milk.

The setting up of Dairy corporation by the Uganda government in the early 1960’s and recently, the liberalization of the milk industry, has witnessed an increase in milk marketing. But, these days, because dairy farm households sell most of their milk to the factories, they remain with only about two litres of milk daily for the entire household (Uganda Dairy sub sector, 1996). Uganda now produces 1.1Billions liters of milk according to 2008 statistics and 70% for market the rest is consumed farming households and their neighbours up from 365 million in 1992. Uganda’s dairy industry is based on indigenous animals which account for 97% of all the milk production while exotic cows produce between 3% (the monitor newspaper Aug. 08.1997:8)

Kohlsand Uhl (1990) observed that improvements in the social infrastructure like transport facilities and milk handling methods enlarge the procurement area of dairy processing plants. In the past, milk markets were 30 to 40 miles a part in Uganda. Today in Uganda, bulk milk is transported up to 2,000 miles to market. Likewise, milk from Mbarara reaches Kampala,  Jinja and Mbale during the morning hours.
In the past the dairy corporation had a monopoly in the formal marketing of milk and other dairy products in Uganda (Uganda sub sector, Aug. 1996). Among its objectives was the collection of fresh milk from dairy farms, notably from Mbarara and Kabarole, Kiruhura milk sheds, through a series of milk collection centre. The milk was then transported by road to Kampala.

Since 1987, a number of entrepreneurs such as Dairi Board Creameries have come up. Paramount Cheese which produced 400 litres on the first day, has increased production to a remarkable 30,000 litres of fresh milk per day (The new vision June 6, 2005:13). GBK and western creameries in Mbarara district and Jesa farm in Mpigi have successfully entered into the processing and marketing of dairy products. Jesa dairy farm has 680 head of cattle with machinery to process over 19,000 litres of milk per day (The monitor 08, 1997). They handle about 20,000, 12,000 and 4,500 litres per day at average capacity utilization of 33%, 30%, and 53% respectively (Uganda sub-sector, Aug. 1996). It is estimated that private Diary Sector Development program (PDSDP) confirms that milk production by the private sector has risen to over 430 million litres this year from 240 million before 1994 (The monitor, June 06, 1997:15). Individual farmers and farmers associations handle more than 90% of the marketed milk products in Uganda.

In Uganda the present total national annual production of milk, that is, milk sales plus domestic consumption, excluding calf consumption, is about 1.1Billion litres (according to 2008 Statistics). It is projected that by the year 20015 milk production will be 1.8 billion litres (Uganda Dairy sub sector, Aug, 2008).

2.4.2. New Methods of Dairy farming

In some developing countries, farmers have resorted to rearing exotic and cross breed cattle. Large scale cattle-keeping for slaughter purposes and the introduction of improved cattle at the end of the stock as well as in an improvement in grazing due to cultivation of fodder crops (Bullow and Sorensen, 1988:16)

In Uganda, the veterinary department encouraged the introduction of exotic cattle breeds in the mid-1990s, in part because they produced more milk than the indigenous cattle (Tindimwebwa, (2001).
With increased milk production, farmers have several options in the use of their milk. However, it is important to explore who has the option in the utilization of milk at the household.

Keeping exotic cattle is a more complicated activity than keeping indigenous cattle. It involves more tedious and expensive inputs such as drugs, artificial insemination services and extension services for quick and regular checkup (kanuuma 1987/88). The farmers who keep exotic cattle must sell atleast some of the milk to meet the various expenses. The gender division of labour is very important in this type of farming.

With improved dairy farming and fencing of the land, cattle are today grazed in the vicinity of the homestead and members of the household now live permanently at the homestead as one of the economic unit (Bullow and Sorenson 1988:29). Kabeer (1994:115) argues that;
The economy of the house hold refers to the rules, relations and practices which govern the household production, acquisition and distribution of the resources which have been socially constructed in favour of men.
This suggests that these new methods of dairy farming will of course have an impact on women.
The commercialization of milk production has been seen as a clear strategy for the household economy.

2.5 Nutritional welfare of the household

The increased competition in milk marketing, which may mean less milk for household consumption, may affect the general health and welfare of pastoralist family members.
Momsen (1991) observed that increased food prices can force poor families to reduce both the quality and quantity of heir food intake. Women and children are usually the ones most affected.        For instance in Guauyaquil, Equador, during the economic crisis of 1987-88, 42% of the families gave up taking milk and 79 of the children attending clinics suffered form malnutrition. I a sample of 51 countries studied by UNCEF in 1986, all had experienced an increase in child malnutrition between 1980 and 1985 and there was some indication that undernourished children were more likely to be female (Momsen, 1991).
  When household economies are absorbed by the market economy, family food supplies may go to the market rather than to the family (momsen, 1991). The commercialization of produce has contributed to a high incidence of ill health and poor family nutrition. For instance increased infant mortality in the period 1982-85 was reported in Brazil, Ghana, Uruguay, and the Philippines, and in many areas these changes seem to have affected girls more than boys. There appears to be a likelihood of imbalanced gender relations in the household.

In east Africa, malnutrition in early childhood is common and at present consists almost exclusively of protein- calorie malnutrition (Musangi 1977). For children les than one year old, nutritional marasmus or calorie deficiency is common. Marasmus results in most cases be as a result of the commercialization of milk that leaves little or no milk for domestic consumption. Statistics confirm that on average Ugandans consume a mere 23 litres of milk a year. This is several times less than the 50 liters recommended by the food and Agricultural organization (the monitor, June 06, 1997:17)

The commercialization of milk has not only affected the welfare of the household but community social relations as well. In the past farm households with abundant supplies often gave out surplus food as gifts in kind, payment for labour or to express hospitality to the neighbours (Uganda sub- sector,  1996). This has undermined the spirit of community of the entire society.

In many traditional societies, women and men have shared not only the burdens but also the benefits of the productive work. It is a recent concern that many recent development programmes have failed to reach the women (Tinker and bramisen, 1986). Instead modernization and industrialization frequently have merely strengthened sexual inequality.

Aspects of food production such as the local consumption and the preservation of foodstuffs which traditionally were the specialty of women have progressively become components of global agriculture transactions (Bramisen, 1976). Today food like milk is treated as a commodity in large scale production or as a weapon for economic negotiations. This helps explain why it use at the local level is being neglected.

Industrialization, like commercialization of milk affected the roles men and women (Oakley, 1970). For men it enlarged the world outside the home chiefly by expanding the range of occupations available to them. For women, it has meant an involution of the world into a space of the home. Oppong (1987) argues that failure to recognize the labour of busy housewives s productive work which contributes directly or indirectly to national output is inconsistent with the realities of the household. Apart from women’s domestic and maternal roles, they are also the main source of labour in smallholder agriculture. Likewise failure to recognize women’s roles in the household, in this case their contributions in milk production, is denying their rights to economic resources. It is against this background that Elson (1994) sees the inequality of financial status within the household. If the role of the wife is assumed to be that of financial dependent, gender conflict is likely to arise.

It is obvious that if what women actually do and what their needs are over looked, there are serious socio economic consequences at every level of society, from the state to the household. If the modernization of dairy industry has pushed women into the non-monetary sector and undermined their position in the family and in the community and seriously affected their well being, the entire society will suffer the consequences. This marginalized women in the milk production process also works against governmental efforts to increase milk production. Emunyu (1992) argues that once milk becomes a commodity for sale, the participation of women in its extraction and control seems to have decreased greatly because women do not control the profits derived from their work. Also this decreases the availability of products such as ghee and butter to all household members.

On one hand, milk as a commodity helps break the cycle of rural poverty that keeps families dependent on aid. With improved nutrition, children and other members of the house hold grow stronger and healthier. In addition increasing production requires increasing the incentives and efficiency of both men and women bearing in mind that changes will alter the workload and rewards of each sex (Hay and sticher, 1984). Thus production consists of household members occupying distinct socio economic roles which are responsive to relative and absolute gains and need to be motivated accordingly.

In conclusion, while the commercialization of milk production can generate income in the household, it can have negative effects on household gender relations, among other things, the intensification of women’s work and the increased dependency of women on the income generated from the sale of products such as milk.

Focusing on women or men alone ignores the influence of gender relationships on their socio-economic spheres. Imam (1990) and Moser (1994) point out that focusing on women in isolation is not an accurate representation of socio-economic realities. The gender oriented literature review concerned itself with the inequalities in decision making, bargaining power relations and autonomy. The major question remains; who does what and who benefits in the commercialization of milk production. Anyone wanting to judge accurately the effects of the commercialization of milk in Uganda must recognize that: in the past women and men played different roles in this work; women and men have different relationships to the means of production; women’s and men’s roles need public acknowledgement if national and industry needs are to be met; and the well –being of dairy households can not be considered a minor issue for the country.  



3.1. Introduction

This section presents the methods that would be employed during the study. It also describes the geographical area of the study, population of the study, the method of sampling, methods of data collection, data processing and data analysis and the problem faced during the study.

3.2. Area of study

The study was conducted in Nyabushozi county, Kiruhura district. Kiruhura is a district in the western Region of Uganda. It is the part of the formed district of Ankole It was created in July 2005 by Parliament and its district local Government council became legally effective on August 11 2005.Kiruhura District lies in the cattle corridor in south western Uganda. It boarders with Ibanda and Kamwege in north west, Mbarara District in the West, Isigiro District in the South , Rakai in the East, Kyenjojo and Sembabule District in the North and North East respectively. It has only two counties those are Nyabushozi County and Kazo County. Generally the area’s vegetation is characterized by thorny bushes of grass level with scattered trees which dominate the area. The area receives fairy reliable and high rainfall.
Nyabushozi county is rural-urban with a population of about 198,629 of which 105995 are female and 92,634 male (population census 2001) The Nyabushozi people are a pre- dominantly cattle-keeping community, inhabited by both Bahima and Bairu groups of people. Recently both groups have adopted new dairy farming techniques and mixed farming.
    The county is selected because it has been a focal point for NGOs, private and public investors for the promotion of milk production and marketing it offers a wide range of variables relevant to the investigation of the gender relations in milk marketing. And more so the researcher understands the indigenous language, this will facilitate easy communication with the local  people during the study.

3.3 Population of the study

The target population of the study include five categories: household member, local leaders, milk vendors, dairies and cultivators.

3.4 Sample Selection

Key informants were purposively selected to represent LC1, 11, 111 and IV, dairies, milk vendors and cultivators.
Local leaders helped the researcher to enter into different rural communities. They could provide local information development in the area and the general impact of commercialization of milk. Staff members from dairies gave information about milk marketing. And milk vendors were an important go between farmers and the dairy. The cultivators were asked to tell wether the traditional trade and tributes continued after commercialization of milk.
     A simple random method of sampling was used to select four LC I, from the eight sub-counties in Nyabushozi county. In each LCI, four household were selected randomly from the list of households. The majority of the household in the total population were keeping dairy cows for commercial purpose.

Table.1   Sample Structure.

Dairy Corporation
Dairy Cooperative
Milk Vendors
Local Council IV
Local Council III
Local Council II
Local Council I
Simple random sampling
Household Members
Simple random sampling

SOURCE: survey data 2009

3.4 Data Collection Methods

3.4.1 Questionnaire.

The questionnaire include both structural and unstructured questions(see Appendix I)

3.4.2 Focus Group Discussion

These were conducted in different milk centers after sale of milk. Each group comprised of three to six men lasted for forty five minutes. The researcher was the main facilitator and used interview guide (Appendix II). Runyankore was the medium of communication.

3.4.3 Interview Guide

This was used during the discussion with the local leaders, cultivators, milk vendors and staff at the dairies.

3.5 Data Processing and Data Analysis

3.5.1 Qualitative Data

Qualitative data recorded in note books was after to check errors. It was then analysed according the major variables.

3.5.2 Quantitative Data

Completed questionnaires were reviewed at the end of each day to check for consistency. Questions which were omitted were noted. Coding categories were developed after reading through the completed questionnaires. Data were entered into the computer and analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS).

3.5.3 Problems Faced During the Study

There was a problem of interviewees expecting some money before responding to the asked questions.
Most of the households are scattered and could make and local leaders to visit few households. Hence time consuming.
Some members of the household were often busy on their usual visits hence this caused visit repetitions.
Some of the respondents were worried about the purpose of the research especially in the dairies.
Some of the questions were not responded because the respondent felt that the question were commercially sensitive.
Lack of transport facilities in the area created serious problem during the time of data collection.



4.1 Introduction

This chapter presents the findings, interpretation and discussions bearing in mind the main objective of this study which was to examine the effects of commercialization of milk production on gender relations at the household level.

This chapter is divided under four main themes: social demographic characteristics of the respondents, past gender relations in milk production, present household gender relations in milk production on welfare and socio-economic status of the household.

4.2 Socio Demographic Characteristics of Respondents

A gender perspective predicts beyond the ways in which men and women relate to each other. Societies discourse beliefs towards the feminine and masculine obligations and roles played in the household and in the community at large.

Table:2.  Socio-demographic characteristics of dairy farmers

Percentage (n = 54)

37.04 %
62.96 %
Marital status

75 %
15 %
7 %
3 %
Education level

Never went to school
0 %
18.5 %
O level
55.6 %
A level
20.9 %
Tertiary institution
5 %

74 %
Civil service
5.6 %
Service sector
4.5 %
Farming and civil service
10 %
Farming and service sector
5.9 %
Civil service and service sector
0 %
Source: survey data 2009

Low level of education has a great negative impact on dairy development and it limits the commercialization of dairy production. This is because farmers with low levels of education tend to be more conservative and slow at adopting new technological advancements in production. All the people interviewed has educational background. 18.5 % of the farmers attained primary knowledge, 55.6 % proceeded to O level, 20.9 % proceed to A level and 5 % ha a chance to proceed to tertiary institutions. It was observed that there was no respondent without any education background. Thus it was seen that 1005 of the farmers had at least some educational knowledge from school.

Nevertheless, variables such as marital status, occupation, age, income, education and household composition influence gender relations. At the same time, they determine men and women’s position over household economic resources and their relation to each other members of the household. Such responsibilities include control over milk, distribution of milk in the household activities like domestic, productive, and reproductive tasks that make milk production a reality. Furthermore, these variables influence the obligation of both men and women to meet the household demands.

4.2.1 Sex of Respondents

Table.1 shows that 37.04 % of the interviewed respondents were males while 62.96 % were females. This indicates that dairy farming is female dominated. This trend relates to the fact that most females are ever at home. The female generally help in increasing family labour supply which is dominant in this farming. Besides most men overlook the venture as being cheap and non paying thus leaving the opposite sex to dominate.
Many more women than men were found in the household at the time of interviewing. The men’s activities usually occurred outside home. In total 34 women and 20 men were interviewed.
A person was considered to be married if she/he had a formal marriage with the person with whom she/he lived with in the same household.  The marriage would be recognized if a husband paid bribe wealth in form of cows and the wedding was conducted in church.  Of the respondents, 64% were married.

Singles accounted for 15% while widows accounted for 18% and widowers only 3%. Out of the sample of 54 people interviewed, 75 % were married. This, however again tells us how dairy production can be a source of income to families that have endless demands. As the couples settle and produce more children, there is increased demand that motivates them to work harder and go into commercial production.

Marriage is considered to be very important amongst the cattle keeping community. It is a key determinant of wealth and stability of a homestead and gives a man status as the main provider. At the same time, married couples cooperatively pool household resources together by investing in dairy farming for high milk production and the general running of the household. 
The widows play multiple roles as the heads of the family and managers in maintaining the farms and cows. In single families, especially men assemble their resources (land, cows and a house) with the hope of getting a helper (the wife).

4.2.2 Age

Age determines what is expected of household members in terms of their contribution to milk production.

Table.3 Shows the percentage distribution of respondents by age.

Percentage of age groups

18 – 30
31 - 40
41 - 50
51 - 60
81 - 90
Source: survey data 2009

Graph .1 Percentage distribution of respondents’ age

Table.4 Shows the mean, standard deviation, minimum and maximum age of the respondents

Std. Deviation
Source: survey data 2009

Age is also an important consideration in diary production because it has an implication on labour productivity on the farm. The farmers who were interviewed were found in the age range of 18 – 90 years, with a mean age of 42.83 years. The minimum age of the farmers was found to be 18 years and the maximum age was 90 years. Their age range was 72 years.
Age of the household head influences dairy production. Better planning, decision making and experience in dairy improve with age up to the maximum productive age.
The standard deviation of the age of the respondents was found to be 16.03.

Graph .1 shows that the majority of the respondents acting for 24% overall were aged between 31-60 years. This range reflects a mature age with full responsibilities in the household. It also reflects the stability of homes and marriages; they can withstand conflicts which can easily lead to divorce or separation. At the same time, the 31-60 age brackets reflects the dynamics of gender relations to leave room for change and vulnerability to high demands for household basic needs. This is the time when both men and women work hard and plan for their homes and offspring.

Furthermore, men constituted a high percentage within the 41 - 50 age brackets with 23%. On the other hand, there were more women within the 41 - 50 age brackets totaling to 20%. Thus, women are reflected as relatively younger than men. This could point out women’s contribution and improve milk production. In addition the women’s age could contribute to change to new dairy farming in a bid to contribute to changes in gender relations if they are not favorably rewarded. This is the most active period for women to value their work and the benefits they obtain.

This age for women implies that women engage in marriage at an early age without completing their education, a situation which affects their ability to control and invest in commercialization of dairy farming, loosing control over their traditional domain of milk.

4.2.3 Tribe

The predominant tribe was that of the Banyankole. The community is mixed with ‘Bahima’ and ‘Bairu’ both of whom are cattle keepers as well as cultivators. In the past, the Bahima would have only cattle and the Bairu would have only cultivated land as noted by Karugire, (1986). As a result of new dairy farming both groups are practicing mixed farming. It was thus, difficult to identify a ‘Hima’ or ‘Mwiru’ in relation of milk production. However, the difference was noticeable according to the accent in speaking, physical appearance and the cultural artifacts in the households.

4.2.4 Education 

This variable was studied in order to find out the relationship between education and commercialization of milk production and how it can affect gender relations. Education was also studied to find the differences between men and women’s education which is an aspect for determining their participation in milk production and their benefits.

Table 5:  Education of respondents categorized by sex

Total Row

Tertiary Institution
Advanced level
Ordinary level
Primary level
No education
Total column
Source: survey data 2009

The findings revealed that women were less educated than men (Table 4.1). Most of them had completed primary level education but none had progressed beyond advanced level.

4.3 Decision Making and Autonomy

In the past, milk was a domain of women. They controlled and distributed milk in the household as subsistence food while men took the responsibility of herding cattle. Wives and mothers provided their families and notably the head of the family (the husband), with a proper diet of milk by products. This responsibility entrusted by household members and the society as a whole, gave women considerable power and autonomy in the household. One male respondent from Bubaale narrated, In the past, men would milk the cows and the moment the milk was brought into the house, it was not his business.
It is concluded that the power for decision making and autonomy enjoy by the women, made them responsible and strengthened their position not only in the household but also in the community. Therefore to live in harmony in the household, gender relations were determined by the circumstances under which the family members were expected to contribute while at the same time enjoys the benefits. Women having access to milk, the primary means of subsistence, was based on the fulfillment of their obligation as mothers and in particular as wives.
The milk and ghee produced by women were shared among a wide network of relatives and friends. The sharing of food was vital to the reinforcement of communal relations and cooperation. One female respondent said that here husband had a right to ask for some of the ghee she produced in order to give it to his relatives, but if she refused he would not insist. Therefore, women and men have shared not only the burdens but also the benefits of productive work. There was mutual respect for each other.
Commercialization of milk production requires investment capital by buying inputs and dairy implements and men may afford this investment. One female informant said. Dairy farming needs money. If men invest their money, then how can a woman claim the milk which a man has to sale and raise profit to maintain his farm?
Thus, the decision making responsibilities and autonomy women used to enjoy has changed as a result of commercialization. Many female respondents confirmed that they no longer make ghee since all the milk is sold by the men to G B K (a private dairy found in Mbarara town).Today, it is the man who determines what other members should take which was unheard of in the past. One male respondent said that such a husband in the household would have been regarded as a person regarded worthless. Such changes not only affect the general performance of household members but also create friction leading to unbalanced gender relations.
Although the women appreciated the change in milk production, women missed their autonomy and power for decision making which they believe should not have been changed by the new developments. Women still stay at home and care for the children but with limited food and unbalanced diet. One female respondent commented,
Men’s decision to leave the amount of milk in the household is just a sad story because they’re interested in wellbeing of the members. We can never feel easy when our children are not well fed.

The implication of the above statement is that it can lead to psychological torture in the families. Female and male relations may become imbalance when one party is not happy with the other, thus creation conflict in the household.

4.4 Present Household Gender Relations in Milk Production

Indicators of gender relations in present milk production included gender division of labour, power relations, decision-making, control and ownership resources. A brief description of gender relations during the past periods has been presented in order to predict the new trends of the gender relations.

The household as a social unit is based on marriage, parental, kinship and reproduction tasks as part of gender division of labour while presently it contributes to commercialization of milk production. Members of the household work and live together in harmony as the basic labour unit in production and share both work with the hope and entitlement of benefiting the proceeds of their inputs. Against this background therefore, this study looks at gender division of labour as a tool for analysis to answer the questions “who does what” and “who benefits and what”.

4.4.1 Present Gender Division of Labour in Milk Production

Gender division of labour was one of the indicators of gender relations to help in identifying gender specific tasks in knowing feminine and masculine ideologies in milk production. As a tool of analysis, gender division of labour can be more specific than ‘classifying’ along the productive, reproductive and domestic tasks. During the goods and services should be directed.

4.4.2 Household Composition

The majority of households comprised members ranging from 5 to 11 persons (table below). The more members of the household, the fewer tasks and time spent in performing duties person. One male respondent said,
A big family is a sign of wealth blessed with children especially sons. Workers or ‘Bairu’ are integrated in the household like members of the family to perform heavy tasks.

Table 6. Composition of an Average Household

Source: survey data 2009
NB: “Other” included relatives, elderly, adopted children, maids and casual labourers.

4.4.3 Gender Division of labour Among Married Couple

The duties were categorized by domestic, productive, reproductive and other tasks. Domestic work included cleaning, cooking, and fetching water. Productive work included tasks like churning milk, collecting fodder, feeding calves, fetching water for calves and cows, measuring milk, transporting milk, grazing, cleaning the milking kraal, weeding handicrafts, needlework, planting, spraying and building. Reproductive activities included child care, caring for the sick and the aged.

Graph .2 Showing the percentage distribution of tasks in the household

Text Box: Percentage
NB:”Other” category include joint efforts, self supervision, paid workers and work assignment.

Table.7 Showing the percentage distribution of tasks in the household

Percentage distribution of tasks

0 %
45 %
0 %
3 %
11 %
30 %
4 %
7 %
Source: survey data 2009
No men participated in domestic and reproductive work (graph 4.2). One male informant said that the man goes out in order to support his family while the wife stays at home to care for the family. It is observed that women undertake domestic and productive tasks to release the men to engage in the reproductive and commercial production of milk. Domestic and reproductive tasks are usually seen to be inseparable from feminine roles. The majority of the women protest the interest of the patriarchal beliefs and view men as unfit to perform domestic and reproductive roles.

However, women are equally active as men in productive work. This implies that women combine all the domestic, productive and reproductive roles in the households which constitute what stockyard and Johnson (1997) decided as a huge amount of socially necessary production that is mot considered real work under capitalism.

Even recreational activities which many women enjoy in their free time like making clothes, baskets and knitting are done around the home but often at a slow pace. It is a common discourse that and efficient housewife is an important measure of success as a woman that is, combining and performing all the tasks.

Women are not only anxious to perform their domestic roles but productive role takes their time too. It is through the productive roles they perform that they can be in position to maintain the family. In a more analytical focus, reproductive and domestic work confines women to private life while outside tasks expose men to public life. Even when women are exposed to public, they withdraw to perform household tasks. One female respondent said
,I stay at home, my husband buys everything for the family. Although he sells almost all the milk, he uses the money to buy other household items.

The statement above holds that even women themselves do not value their domestic responsibility as work. Staying at home means there is no work recognized as work. These findings concur with Young et al (1984) who found that women may not be conscious of their subordination to men, they accept gender hierarchy as a natural fact rather than a social fact. It is in this regard that when new developments in dairy farming improve the work, the men stand a better chance to use them. In vie of the societal assumption that the sustenance of the subsistence economy is still regarded as a preserve of women which is not recognized in the image of the women even when they have been improved.

Further more, the phenomena of the husband buying everything in the home portrays the woman as having no taste of her own to choose what is worthy for her and the family. Secondly the bulk of income does not benefit the woman. Much of it goes to the man who either controls it or uses it for paying graduated tax, attending to personal desires like drinking alcohol and part of what remains is used for purchasing essential household items which may be a small fraction of the total expenditure.

The tasks allocated to women confine them to home management which is necessary for the understanding of gender relations in milk production. The commercialization of milk production involves a lot of inputs and services which are got from outside the household. This advantage has been exploited by men to run the farms and controlling all the milk.

In real sense, women know what is taking place in the household, as managers and will feel uneasy when their children and other members of the household are not satisfied; so they try to see to it that the children are well catered for before the milk is consumed by other agents. It is thus, against this background that gender relations will become a problem between wife as mother and a manager of the home, and a husband as bread-winner and a head of the household. It is no wonder Young et al (1984) stated that radical and feminist commenters have pointed out that household-based production is not a single discrete type, but get some of this basic characteristic from the economic system in which it is embedded.

4.4.4 Roles performed by single people

It is already observed that women perform domestic, productive and reproductive roles. Widows are not different from married women, but to a big extent the former are slightly busier than the latter because they perform all the masculine and feminine roles. One respondent said When my husband died in 1956 there was Nothing I didn’t do. I started digging like other people to bring up my children. These ones you see are grand children of whom God has blessed me with.
The statement gives us an understanding that societal discourses are mere assumptions because women can perform task like men. In the same vein, a widower revealed that he allocates work to his children regardless of their sex. There were very few single parents in the sample. Marriage in Uganda brings a lot of respect and trust from society.
One single man said, I do all the work alone, sometimes my mother and sister help me but still I need mother and sister help me but still I need mother and sister help me but still I need mother and sister help me but still I need some one to help me more, that is, a wife with whom I can share responsibilities and further my developments.
It is thus, important to note that supporting a man’s success, there is a woman. The man feels incomplete because he lacks a woman with whom to perform household tasks.
Some single women were living with parents and hardly performed any work. They only supervised the work done by workers and children.

This suggests that domestic work is not regarded as “work” at present.
The gender division analysis makes us understand that the historical perspective of dividing tasks has not changed. Instead, commercialization has changed production and the nature of work by adding the tasks to women and men for example; women are engaged in both productive, productive and domestic chores.

4.4.5 Time use pattern in milk production

The majority of the members of the household rose early to perform tasks. One informant said,
This dry season we get up early in the morning at around 4:30am to milk before the sun rises and also to allow cows to eat early.
In view of this, commercialization of milk production is not a task that one can perform at his/her own pace. It is a demanding activity which is highly valued using the time factor. The graphs below show the time pattern for members as they perform their duties.

Graph 3. Distribution of time pattern at which wife and husband get up

Table 8. Distribution of time pattern at which wife and husband get up

Time pattern for waking up

Very early morning
Early morning
Late morning
24 %
19 %
0 %
30 %
22 %
5 %
Source: survey data 2009

Graph 4 Distribution of respondents’ sleeping time

Table.9  Distribution of respondents’ sleeping time

Sleeping pattern

9.00 – 10.00
11.00 – 12.00
12.00 am
20 %
20 %
4 %
33 %
18 %
5 %
Source: survey data 2009
Wives generally get up earlier than their husbands (graph 4.3) to embark on domestic chores which are regarded simple but take a lot of time and energy. Similarly they tend to sleep earlier than men (graph 4.4). This help in understanding the discourse of “early to bed, early to rise”. One female respondent said that apart from her husband, the rest sleep early after along days of work and wake up early to continue with the same.
During the interview, one female respondent said, A woman is an image of all members in the household. If you get up late things will not work and everybody will get up late too. We work by doing, not by talking.
The women cannot only supervise without involving herself in work. In trying to perform feminine roles, women live as conscious thinking subjects. They give meaning to performance and gender relations under behavior depending on the existing beliefs. The crucial matter here is that in holding a feminine position, an individual assumes as a promoter of the ideology or discourse. Therefore a woman as an image to others is discourses which do not necessarily mean to belong to the feminine but to the masculine as they go hand in hand.

However, the only time women respondents had was on Sundays when they go for prayers. But this prayer time meant only time when they are free from going to the plantation; milk production and household activities, however, remain continuous tasks. Unlike women, men get their free time the moment they finish milking in the evenings. Men therefore have more free time than women. While women supported the idea about men’s late-coming and drinking after sale of milk, one female respondent said, My husband comes late when supper is over. They join the groups after the sale of milk in the evening.
While another said, The good thing is that my husband is paid every after two weeks from the bank, otherwise everyday money from the sale of milk would have been drunk every evening. Anyway, after the sale of milk they have nothing to do.
In all, the findings show that milk production and domestic tasks are gender-specific, being mainly feminine roles although a lot of productive work in milk production is done by men. Women are in both productive and reproductive work. This reduces time of doing other profitable duties. The implication of meeting these tasks, Boserup (1989) and Kabeer (1994) feared that the work has to balance with multiplicity of households demands.

4.5.1 Decision making

Milk was used for home consumption and was under the women’s control. Today, milk has become a male domain for public consumption and income generation. This trend has affected women’s position as managers and as mothers. One female respondent from Mutonto complained that: I hate ghee bought from the shops. It is not well made but my husband prefers buying rather than us making it.
This implies that because of commercialization of milk, the women no longer have bargaining power to decide what is good for their family. The majority of the women said that although the selling of milk was inevitable, men like selling it all without realizing the need and its usefulness in the home. A lot of milk is used for ghee making and therefore men preferred buying it from the shops or markets. Although it may be economical doing so, it is being done without mutual consent. Women tend to keep quite and ignore such issues trying to avoid conflicts in the home. But the fact is that such gender imbalances in homes give rise to problems between household members in the long run.

Therefore, women’s decisions over livestock and milk management have been over-shadowed by commercialization of milk. This has resulted into women loosing their bargaining power even at the household level. One female respondent expressed views over the matter like this. When new development comes like sale of
milk, women should not be forgotten. Instead government should improve on what women do rather than men taking control over what used to be ours.
Thus it is important for any development in milk production to involve both men and women so that women do not end up being excluded from such economic activities.

4.5.2 Present ownership rights in milk production

Ownership rights involve power to member’s full use and control of assets. The researcher used ownership rights as a variable to determine present gender relations, power, decision-making and control in the family over milk production. During the focus group discussion with milk vendors who were only said, Land and cows are the backbone of the man’s economic empowerment including his wife, children and dependents.
The statement above clearly tells us that women are regarded among the property of the man in the household who contribute to the economic advancement of the household under the right of ownership of the man. This is not different from what Hay Stichter (1984:4) found that the household heads controlled the use of land and other economic resources such as tools or cattle and the labour of his family members.

It is thus, paramount that all able bodied household members provide labour in milk production of which the produce comes under the control of the male household head. The head also arranges milk for sale and the amount of milk to be distributed in the household. One female respondent from Kenshunga said, Women don’t own land and cattle unless your husband died and left some for you but they will still be controlled by their heir.
It is a fact that when women are given rights to own land and cattle, it is another way of confining women in a patrilineal of dominance. They remain the custodian of the son’s property whose rights have been allocated by the powers of the patriarchy society. It is thus noted that land and cattle carry prestige and power which patriarchy is not ready to part with.

Furthermore, women have access to land for growing food meant for home consumption to substitute for milk sold. The demand for matooke/bananas in the area may result in men assuming control of this resource.

4.6 The impact of commercialization of milk on the welfare and socio-economic status of the household

This section studies the monetary economy, the setting up of institutions, urbanization, population growth, adoption of new methods of dairy farming and the introduction of dairies and their influence or the welfare of the household.

4.6.1 Institutions

Institutions like schools, hospitals and churches have been built in Kiruhura. Teachers, nurses and other professionals needed milk in their institutions. This was a good stimulus for milk sales. One male respondent said that his children used to carry milk to teachers and the head-cooks of Kiruhura academy and bright feature sec. The school headmaster then deducted money from his school fees. He proudly said that he managed to educate children through the sale of milk. Today, many new public and private offices have cropped up and the demand for milk continues to increase.

Table 10 Average Volume of milk left in the household

Source: survey data 2009

As a result of increased milk sales, the volume of milk in the household can be very low. The mean amount of milk left for the household is 5.7 liters per days (table). One female respondent said, Milk which is left at home is not enough. We substitute it with other foods like millet get some from the garden.
One female respondent appreciated the method of consuming other foodstuffs like maize, and millet flour maximized the little milk left for domestic consumption. Women are concerned about nutrition and include elements in the diet to help them maintain good health or prevent illness.

Milk sales were the principal source of household income 72%. Other significant sources include crop sales 70%, and income from women groups. The sale of ghee which used to be a domain of women now accounts for only 28%.

One male respondent from Ruentondo said, I did not allow churning milk because it takes a lot of milk. It is cheaper to buy from tow
Men use the tone of patriarchy indicating their power over the family as the heads and controllers of resources to determine what should be good for the home. They combine this with ideologies of masculine authority that support them because what they say is final. It is against this argument that Coward (1983:9) pointed out that patriarchy has also been advanced as a theoretical explanation for the subordination of women. It describes the social control of women by men.

4.6.2 Urbanization and population growth

Urbanization and population increase have led to building of towns, trading centres and the construction of roads. People migrated from rural to urban areas in search of employment and transacting business, such as milk sales. Men usually transport the milk to town or milk centres 57%. Milk vendors and workers each account for a further 13% and women a mere 7%. When men transport milk to market centres they have all the power to control the finances. One respondent said, when my husband sells milk, he is paid through the bank and the bank whose account is his alone. I see him bringing goods in the home but I don’t know how much money is there on the Account.

4.6.3 New farming systems

Dairy farming and dairies have made the commercialization of milk production easier. Dairies have set up milk centres nearer to the farmers. Also farmers have adopted to keeping both indigenous, cross and exotic cows for high milk production. Contrary to the past gender division of labour, many respondents preferred the present tasks, which lead to income generation in the household. Women liked the new dairy farming system because of the technological advancement that made work easier.

The main reason for preference for new dairy farming is efficiency and decreased workload. These reasons accounted for 90% and 72% respectively. When comparing the new dairy farming with that of the past, one female respondent from Nyabitadariki had this to say; Today we have steady homesteads unlike those days when we would shift from place to place. Men moved long distances with cows looking for Pasture. We came from Kazo to settle here.

Despite gender inequalities in the commercialization of milk production, women appreciated the new system of dairy farming because it has given them a permanent place to live in. meanwhile a male respondent from Rwenshaku said, The new system of dairy farming is good, we now own land which is fenced and we have adopted exotic and cross breed cows adding on to our Ankole cows which produce more milk.

These findings concur with Young et al (1984) who observed that all societies undergo economic changes; the nature of work changes and so does its distribution between women and men. As the community turned to new dairy farming, the gender division of labour changed. One female respondent from keshangu had this to say, Our men work on the farm, others go to work in town and come back on their farms. We are secured, unlike those days when they would move and stay far from us on open grazing; these days things are done from nearby.
Men no longer leave their homes as in the past. They operate from their farms by looking after cows and the fenced land. They pay close attention to the cows. This has resulted into high milk production. However, maintaining the farm is expensive. One male respondent from Nyarubango said, Buying inputs and implements is expensive; money got from the sale of milk is too little. We had to leave other products like ghee and to reduce the amount of milk for the home. We also engage in cultivation and sell bananas for mo e income.

Society is dynamic. The Nyabushozi community is no longer dependent on cattle alone but cultivation too. The new development has led to changes in gender division of labour for both men and women.
Land ownership and the need for farm maintenance leads to control over milk. One male respondent from Rwenshaku said, I had to save the little money from the sale of milk to buy more land because it was not enough for my cattle. Now I have to spend money on drugs and veterinary assistance to treat my cattle, the general maintenance of the farm and meeting basic household needs. It is through the sale of milk that all these are met.

Milk has to be sold to obtain a range of household basic needs such as clothing, education and medication plus agricultural inputs and implements which the household members cannot provide for themselves. These findings concur with those of Young et al (1984:104) who realized that wives and other household members have a right to be clothed, as young children attend school, entitled to be educated. Since women do not own land, men have the powers to control and utilize all the produce that come from it to meet their needs. In the study 84% men and 55% women confirmed that husband had control over the milk. a further 30% women cited widows exercising this control. One female respondent  said, When Paramount Dairies and G.B.K came, women lost hope for milk in their homes. We have even forgotten about churning.

It is therefore, implies that private and public investors have done more harm than good because their presence has militated against women’s control over milk to the benefit of men.
The restrictions on women’s access to the public and a hindrance to women’s involvement in changing milk production in the area to study. One female respondent said that,” inputs like drugs are found in town and it is the man’s job to go and purchase them”. The failure of women to be exposed to work outside the house makes them assume buying inputs and the general maintenance of the farm is a male task. This results in low levels of confidence and knowledge about outside world. As a consequence men to have the chance to increase their control over women.

The changing nature of milk production, distribution and consumption is determined by the man who has full rights over economic resources. As a result of new developments, people started owning land and fencing it confined animals to eat from farms land rather than open grazing. This new system of land ownership enhances men’s control over milk production.
The new dairy farming methods are preferred because the cattle is grazed on fenced land. There is ample time to do other things and the production of milk per cow is high. Many farmers had responded by practicing mixed farming which enables them to earn more income. One local leader said, This new agricultural farming system has made land valuable. Every man wants to fence his land and get a title. As you see the majority have permanent houses, they can get loans from the bank.
This statement excludes women and it points to the fact that men have access to credit because they own land, cattle and permanent houses. This denial of ownership of land to women by patriarchal practices separates and defines the power relations of men and women in the household. It is therefore rare for women to control milk when they do not control the means of production.

The new dairy farming methods and mixed farming were valued more than the old ones. One male respondent from Kishunju said, Although money is never enough, practicing dairy farming and cultivation has made us stable and sure of permanent household. Unlike those days when we didn’t know how to utilize the land and to use other foods apart from livestock products only.

However one woman felt differently: The new dairy farming system has helped men to over-run us because the milk belongs to them and we can never churn milk to sell it and get money. It is good to have a permanent house and farm but when you don’t control its outputs what is the purpose? Men staying around all the time create friction, for they shout at the children and dictate to us.

When men stay at home the situation become tense for women. This is due to the fact that women do not exercise their power freely as they would without men. Their freedom of expression and association with members from inside and outside the household is limited by their husband’s presence. This is because patriarchal practices ensures that women are reserved, obedient and submissive to their husbands. They timidly protect their status.

Another adverse effect of the new farming system is that it has created individualism, thereby killing the community relations of the past. One male said, The land is fenced all around. There are no longer short paths to lead to a neighbour. Helping each with fire and salt no longer exist It is easier to buy from shops rather than begging from the neighbors. When you don’t have, you do without.
Lack of paths to a neighbour implies people tend to live individual lives. This is a concern especially to women who are confined to homes and get time to visit neighbours nearby because of the long distance. Therefore social links have been eroded by the new developments of dairy farming.

4.6.4 Setting up of dairies

The majority of the male respondents praised the government for having established the Dairy Cooperatives and investors of Paramount dairies, G.B.K, Sameer Agricultural and Livestock ltd and Dairy board Creameries. One local leader from Ruetendo said, Because of the good social infrastructure, people can afford to sell milk to dairy farms which is also taken to other areas in Uganda. This has motivated people to keep cows however small the land can be. In my area nearly everybody rear cattle. We no longer have the discourse of cows belonging to the Bahima; even the Bairu have cows.

This implies that demand from other areas motivates people to sell milk even twice daily. This has been made easier by the good road network in the area. Similarly milk from the dairies in Mbarara is transported to Kampala, Jinja and Mbale during morning hours.
G.B.K, and Sameer livestock and Agricultural farm and Dairy Board Creameries make ice cream and ghee which has replaced the locally made ghee produced by women.

4.6.5 Coping strategies

In all, with the setting of institutions and dairy firms, the growing of urbanization and an increase in population in Kiruhura there is more demand for milk too. Men started taking milk to markets and milk became a commercial product demanded by many. Since men are the family heads blessed with all the powers and resources, like owning cattle and land, they have to make decisions in the home on how the resources should be utilized in their favour.

Women no longer have control over milk since is not for domestic consumption. In response some women had started projects like poultry, knitting and have joined women’s organizations which gives them access to soft loans.

This implies that women have not only started seeing their control and power relations being eroded, they have also adopted new mechanisms to make themselves self-sustaining and to reduce their dependence on men. One female respondent said, My husband buys all things in the home but from time to time one needs her own money.

It is thus not a matter of being contented with the husband’s obligation to meet all the household needs, women too need to work to be in position to meet their needs without waiting for their husbands. One child a boy in form seven said, I like our Mum because she doesn’t buy us old clothes and she gives us enough pocket money. But with our daddy, you have to explain how the clothes became old before he buys them.

While another one child (girl in form VI) said, I do not bother myself telling my Daddy all my requirements because he will never part with his money.

This implies that women as mothers have sensitivity towards the children. Therefore, when a mother is well off, the children too will enjoy the riches of the family. One female respondent said that men and women have different needs which sometimes cannot be shared, for example helping relatives from their parents’ homes. Some problems from the wife’s side are sometimes not revealed to her husband and vice versa. Women try to secretly meet such problems without their husband’s knowledge through having a separate source of income.

Indeed some men welcomed women having their own income sources. They felt relieved when their wives do not ask for money to buy creams and other small items for themselves. One male respondent said, I like women who make their own money so that they don’t keep asking me money to buy things like knickers, brassiere and perfumes. My wife does business of knitting and sewing bed cover sand school uniforms and sell them to schools, hospitals and other people. I don’t ask for her money.

Another male respondent said that it is good to involve a woman in marketing to ensure the business can continue. In support of this, Kabeer (1994:115) suggests that the increase in women’s market earnings will lead to their increased participation in market work; their unremunerated domestic responsibilities can be accommodated in a variety of ways. This couple had cooperated with regard to the gender division of labour.

4.7 Conclusion

A rational analysis of gender imbalances within milk production right from the traditional household has paved its way to modern agriculture. This is because the system of patriarchy still exists with very minor changes in it. Commercialization of milk production looks at male power and resource privileges within the domestic domain of the household. The means of production in the hands of the men is supported by patriarchy practices.

Chapter five


5.1 Introduction 

This chapter presents the conclusion and recommendation of the study

5.2 Conclusion

The social demographic characteristics of the respondents influence their control, bargaining power over the milk and accessibility to it.

Education is an important variable affecting ones economic status. There were no women in the study population with tertiary and university education.  As the regards to occupation, the study revealed that sole farmers depended on milk and livestock alone while those with multiple occupations such as civil servants and traders got more money. Women earned nothing apart from being looked after by their husbands.

It was interesting that male respondents commended widows’ involvement in the commercialization of milk production. Hence this is contrary to social beliefs that women can not manage their farms and the general milk production.
 Therefore it may be concluded that given a chance, women can perform as well as men example widows who took over the management of their farms when their husbands died.

In past male and female roles were highly valued and recognized by household members and the community as a whole. Women were recognized according to their biological production and domestic work as wives and mothers. In organised societies men were the household heads assigned all the powers over everybody and the economic resources.  They are recognized as the supporters and the pillars of the household. This belief still stands today even if where the woman maintains the family on her own or earns more salary than the man. Society does not look at the woman’s economic contribution under a man’s home. On the other hand, the roles of women in the household have not changed. It is  still  the stereotype of private and invisible. In the, gender differences were not pronounced as today. Today women’s contribution in milk production has remained invisible to extent of losing control and bargaining power over milk by-products                       
It may be concluded that, commercialization of milk production has made milk a commercial product hence making it different from a subsistence product.

Decision-making on resource allocation within the household was determined by the patriarchy system. In the past, decision making and power relations were categorized in male and female areas of responsibilities without interference. However, with economic changes and the dynamism of society, a relation gender analysis has predicted that men and women’s economic status through gender attributes categorized them differently hence making it a contentious issue.
Measuring milk in economic terms without considering women’s contribution towards milk production is misleading and incomplete.  With the commercialization of milk production, the bargaining process is not proved satisfactory. There is a problem of imbalanced gender relations and gender inequality between men and women within the household which has reduced women’s entitlements.

The study concluded that using gender as a tool analyses, it may be concluded that women’s contribution in the commercialization of milk production is neither enumerated nor valued. It showed that women lost control over milk and its distribution which used to be.

The study showed that women did not in the past and do not in the present own cattle.

It may be concluded that power relations exists within the patriarchal arrangement which provide males of a given class with greater power and decision making roles than female. These men use their social position to promote and defend their own interests. Most of activities were found to be gender segregated.

The study showed that control over milk within contemporary holds is a complex and sensitive process. Unlike in the past, almost all milk is taken to dairies. There is no ghee making. Ts is witnessed by the high cost of ghee on the open market. It may therefore be concluded that, the erosion of women’s control over milk in the name of commercialization of milk production is an intense form of women’s invisible status in economic development.

The study showed that many factors promoted the move to the commercialization of milk production in Nyabushozi, such as removal of taxes, setting up institution like schools and hospitals, dairy firms, population increase in urban areas and good road networking. On the other hand, the study showed that using the new agriculture methods like keeping cross breed and exotic cattle contributed a good deal to high production of milk. It may thus be concluded that the commercialization of milk production is an important sources of income for the household and community. This business has in fact provided sources of investments and dairy cash needs for the household. Coping mechanisms were very important as a means for survival for women. Although old patterns of patriarchy society are still strong in Nyabushozi, the gender consciousness of women was bridging the gap. Women were taking up other business for self sustainability.

On the one hand, men also involved themselves in other activities that generate income like trading, working in kiruhura town, selling of crops and milk vending to add to the money from milk sales. The study has revealed that men and women do not form a homogeneous group in commercialization of milk production. They differ in economic status.

5.3 Recommendations of the study

The gender imbalances identified in the study indicated possible gender responsive action to improve gender relations and efficiency in commercialization of milk production right from the micro level. Therefore the below recommendations are proposed:
 Access to loans and credit from commercial lending institution is equally important. Since women do not own land and cattle, soft loans be available to women without insisting on collateral. Even the group can be used as security when granting loans.

The Ministry of Gender and Community Development and Women Organisation like Action for Development (Acdfode) should put in more efforts in running a sensitization programe for men and women from macro, meso to micro level about gender, gender roles and gender relations. Since study found out the word gender was conceived to mean women wanting to top men of which this misconception may remain for so long.

The same organisations mention above, should encourage women to be self-reliant through adopting other coping meghanisms of income generation such as forming associations and cooperatives which can easily get support from donor agencies. Since it is important to help organized groups of women rather than an individual.
Development affects both men and women differently. Gender disaggregated data should always be at the forefront whenever policies are made

The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries should incorporate gender when identifying projects aimed at providing agricultural inputs and implements nearer to the farmers most preferably through farm supply shops in trading centers at low prices

The study recommends that indigenous cattle should be well kept and allowed to remain as a symbol of the Nyabushozi community and Ankole because if well maintained can produce much milk and better ghee than exotic ones

The study revealed that there were price fluctuations for milk during the rainy and dry seasons. The study therefore recommends that the price for milk be determined by the forces of demand and supply rather than the dairies setting these prices without negotiations with the farmers.
  The study recommends that more dairy firms should be established to process milk by-products like ghee, cheese and yogurt.

The study recommends that also national strategy for information deliveries and generation should be put in place most preferably at sub-county levels to enable farmers know the prices of their products throughout the country rather than depending on middlemen who exploit them, know about the food security, health and other relevant information that can help them impsrove their standard of living.

The study recommends that the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries facilitates the farmers with extension workers to sensitize them about land utilization. Since the study revealed Nyabushozi community did not depend on live stock alone but practiced crop cultivation on smaller scale

The study recommends than men should empower their wives by involving them in the commercialization of milk production process so that their absence does not hamper milk production because it was found out that widows were performing well in commercialization of milk production as a continuous business for the household.

The study recommends that the same research should be carried out in Easter part of the country and more so Teso part, Northern part. Nakasongola district, Mubende, kibonga because these communities are also pastoralists.