Agricultural Sector Profile

Agriculture in Burundi is the mainstay of its economy contributing 30% to gross domestic product as of February 2013, using 90 per cent of Burundi’s labour force and earning 90 per cent of export revenues. Despite the country’s dependence on the primary sector, agriculture has not been modernised and continues to rely on mainly subsistence farming, employing unreliable and inefficient technology

Burundi agriculture mainly comprises of subsistence farming with only about 15 percent of the total production marketed.

An estimated 1,351,000 hectares about 52.6 percent of the total land area, is arable or under permanent crops; about 5.5 percent of cropland is irrigated. The average farm family plot is 0.8 hectares (two acres).

Of the total land area of Burundi, around 1,100,000 hectares is suitable for cultivation. This comes to about 43% of the total land area

Coffee and tea are the primary agricultural exports and make a substantial contribution to the economy. Other export crops are cotton, sugar and Palm oil obtained from trees in plantations along the shore of Lake Tanganyika.

Agriculture in Burundi yields several food crops which include bananas, corns, sweet potatoes, manioc, sorghum, rice, maize and beans. The mountainous regions of Burundi are used for the cultivation of wheat and tobacco.

Agriculture is practiced widely across the length and breadth of the country but adequate efforts to restore the fertility of a particular tract of land are not undertaken. Recurrent practices of sowing, plowing and harvesting the lands have taken a toll on its productivity. Unscientific agricultural methods, inadequate rainfall, poor quality of fertilizers, shortened fallow periods have all contributed to turn arable lands barren i.e. loss of soil fertility.

Burundi’s agricultural sector benefits from a mild climate due to high elevation of the land and regular rainfall.