The role of social capital in livestock development
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Social capital contributes to development through increasing productivity, facilitating coordination and common purpose. However in Uganda, Government and NGO extension systems had not given it due regard. This was probably the agricultural extension systems had not registered significant impact on livestock productivity. It was against this background that a cross sectional study was carried out to determine the role of social capital in livestock development. Data was collected using a structured survey questionnaire, FGDs and key informants interviews were also conducted. Quantitative data was analyzed using SPSS. The study found eleven (11) social groups and networks existed including Faith groups (25.2%), farmer groups (22.6%), Family groups (22.4%), Others (Clans, Ethnic groups, Community burial groups, informal saving groups) (21.5%), Associations (3.8%), SACCOs (3.1%), women groups (0.9%), and Political parties (0.5%). Social Networks also existed between farmers and institutions (Linking Social Networks) through extension workers (96%). Results further indicated social groups and networks contributed to acquisition of knowledge (40%), skills (32.2%) and technologies (17.1%%), for livestock development, influenced choice of livestock enterprises (75.7%), influenced work (50%), determined access to labor (79.9%), and enhanced access and utilization of financial services (87%%). Mobile phones were important in enhancing social networks and disseminating livestock related information. Phones were useful in contacting veterinary extension workers (42.9%), consult on livestock management (21.9%), share experiences with fellow farmers (23.7%) and improved livestock business transactions (8.7%). FGDs further revealed that social networks were enhanced through regular meetings of network members, visiting each other, helping each other and rearing animals together. The study revealed that social capital plays a central role in livestock development, technology adoption and dissemination.