Over the years government has emphasized programs and projects geared at increasing the ability of the locals to raise house hold income and as such these have helped the youth and the women in the district get employed. However, the problem of un employment and underemployment is still very rampant in the District
Programmes like the Youth Livelihood Program and Uganda Women Entreprenuer Program have enhanced the livelihood of people in Kabarole through support of income generating activities which include: Agriculture, Commerce and trade, brick making, stone quarrying and sand mining.
Subsistence farming is the main source of livelihood for the rural areas of Kabarole. In the urban area, backyard farming is practiced to supplement incomes. Crops grown include tea, coffee, cassava, bananas, vegetables including tomatoes, and greens. Livestock keeping is wide spread and goats, pigs and dairy farming and commercial poultry farming are big enterprises in the district. Women play a major role in agriculture and they are mainly involved in food production though they complain of limited access to land. Major constraints are low prices, limited markets, poor road network and high market dues and limited extension services.
Part of the communities in Kabarole both in the rural and urban areas derives their livelihood from small-scale trade. Merchandise sold includes general groceries and hardware. In the rural areas petty trade is dominated by men while the women settle for agriculture as the main livelihood. Women and men in both the rural and urban areas also derive a livelihood from selling foodstuffs such as cassava, sweet potatoes, greens, and matooke in markets. Selling of food stuffs, second hand clothes, charcoal and working in restaurants are also major sources of livelihoods for women.
Employment in Government, sector companies and NGOs is a very big source of livelihood in Kabarole district. Men dominate the employment circles by virtue of higher levels of education and access to capital to start up businesses.
Brick making and sand mining are very lucrative businesses in Kabarole, because of increased urbanization that has attracted many people to construct houses in peri-urban areas of the district. Stone quarrying in Karangura, Bukuuku and Ruteete sub counties is a livelihood strategy which has taken up, women, youth and men. Women are involved in crushing stones and selling them while men and youth are mainly involved in stone mining, selling, transporting and act as middlemen.
Special hire, Omni taxi and boda-boda (motor cycle) business is a major livelihood strategy for men and youth in the peri urban areas of the district. The business has now also penetrated the rural areas. The transport business is a threat to the agricultural sector as more able-bodied energetic youth join the transport sector as opposed to the agriculture sector.