Ankole cattle (also called Inyambo cattle in some areas) are raised in the Rift Valley, along the border between Uganda and Rwanda.
This semi-arid strip of land is often called the "cattle corridor."
Here the Ankole breed is kept for both its tender meat and its milk. The high fat milk is used to prepare a product called ekivuguto in the Runyankole language. The milk is also used to make yogurt and ghee (clarified butter), which is used as a condiment in local dishes.
The blood is also used as a food source; it is tapped from the cattle, collected, and the cattle are released to rejoin the main herd.
For the populations that live off of cattle breeding, the Ankole/Inyambo cow is thought of as a mother for the great importance that it has in the local culture. However, this breed is facing extinction as the governments of both Uganda and Rwanda support its substitution with foreign, more productive breeds. These foreign breeds, however, are poorly suited to environmental conditions of the area.
Herdsmen state that in the past, the cattle were kept in groups of one hundred (called “Amagana”), and that households once would have multiple Amagana, or hundreds of cattle.
Today, it is rare to find a household with even fifty purebred Ankole cattle.
Photos — Alberto Prina