Boron maximizes crop production
Agriculture is one of East Africa's most important sectors, with about 80% of the population depending on agriculture for their livelihood. With high populations, small land sizes, and lack of access to new agricultural tools and information, the region has long suffered from low agricultural productivity and food insecurity. Despite these challenges, the countries of east and southeast Africa support diverse farming systems, from the humid highlands of Uganda to the coastal areas of Tanzania and Kenya and the dry lands of Sudan and Ethiopia.
Maize, cassava, millet, sorghum, sweet potatoes, beans, and groundnuts are commonly grown in most areas, along with intensive vegetable, coffee, and tea production. Maize is Kenya's principal staple crop, followed by legumes. Tea and coffee are major exports in both Kenya and Rwanda, which also exports dry beans, potatoes, maize, rice, and cassava to neighboring countries. However, soil erosion caused by planting on slopes combined with poor soil fertility challenge Rwandan farmers to increase output.
In contrast, Uganda’s fertile soil and moderate climate have contributed to the country's agricultural success. Most areas receive plenty of rain, leading to healthy yields of food crops and major cash crops such as coffee, cotton, tea, and tobacco.
In a region dominated by smallholder mixed farming, greater agricultural investment and government support is making a difference. In Ethiopia, for example, the government sponsors the use of macro- and micronutrients—a practice that can transform food production and create food security.