This paper uses household data collected from livestock-rearing communities in 3 districts in Southern Province of Zambia and corner-solution econometric models to measure the effect of productive potential and market access on livestock production. We also test for the existence of heterogeneous effects across agro-ecological regions, livestock species and poverty levels. To the best of our knowledge, no study has done this before. The findings identify the need for policies and interventions that are aimed at strengthening livestock-based livelihood systems to be responsive to not only the target groups but also productive potential and market access characteristics of the communities in which they live. The livestock systems inherent in the various districts and communities also need to be explicitly taken into account.