Agriculture in Burundi

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About 90 percent of the population(Burundi) depends on agriculture for a living. Most agriculture consists of subsistence farming, with only about 15 percent of the total production marketed. An estimated 1,351,000 hectares (3,338,000 acres), or 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). Agriculture accounted for 51 percent of the GDP in 2004. Coffee and tea exports comprise the majority of foreign earnings; coffee alone accounted for 39 percent of exports of goods in 2004. Agricultural exports accounted for 48 percent of exports in 2004. Principal crops for local consumption are manioc, beans, bananas, sweet potatoes, corn, and sorghum. Production in 2004 included bananas, 1,600,000 tons, mostly for wine; manioc, 710,000 tons; sweet potatoes, 834,000 tons; beans, 220,000 tons; sorghum, 74,000 tons; corn, 123,000 tons; peanuts, 8,800 tons; and yams, 9,900 tons.


The primary export crop is coffee, chiefly of the arabica variety. The government regulates the grading, pricing, and marketing of the coffee crop, and all coffee export contracts require approval. In 2004, coffee production was 20,100 tons. Other export crops are cotton and tea. Seed cotton production was 3,000 tons, and cotton fiber production (after ginning) was about 1,300 tons in 2004. That year, tea production was 6,600 tons. Tea exports in 2004 of 753 tons represented 3 percent of total exports; the government has been encouraging cotton and tea production in order to diversify exports. Palm oil is obtained from trees in plantations along the shore of Lake Tanganyika. Tobacco and wheat cultivated in the highland areas also yield some cash income.


Much of the land has suffered a loss of fertility because of soil erosion from poor agricultural practices, irregularity of rainfall, lack of fertilizer, and shortened fallow periods.

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 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Library of Congress Country Studies.