Katakwi District was created in 1997. It was formerly part of Soroti District. The district is located in the Teso sub-region, home to an estimated 2.5 million people of Iteso and Kumam ethnicities, according to the 2002 national census. In June 2005, the western part of the district was carved out to create Amuria District.
Subsistence agriculture and pastoral animal husbandry are the two main economic activities in Katakwi District. In recent years, attempts to start commercial agriculture have been initiated. Crops grown include the following: