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Foliar micronutrient addition for healthier rice

Enhancing Yield and Nutrition with Micronutrient Sprays

The technology "Foliar Micronutrient Addition for Healthier Rice" is a method developed to address micronutrient deficiencies in rice crops. It involves the use of concentrated liquid forms of micronutrient fertilizers that are designed to be applied directly onto the leaves and stems of the rice plants. This technology is designed to be easily adopted within rice-growing communities of Sub-Saharan Africa, aiming to tackle the low availability of crucial micronutrients in the soil due to the region's old and highly weathered soil conditions. The application of micronutrients onto the rice canopy aims to significantly enhance the harvest yield and nutritional quality of the grain without requiring extensive investment or infrastructure.


This technology is TAAT1 validated.


Scaling readiness: idea maturity 8/9; level of use 8/9

Cost: $$$ 41.1 USD


ROI: $$$ 7—30 %

Yield increased

40 USD

Protective kits per person

30—45 USD

Knapsack sprayers with a tank of 20 liter


Open source / open access


  • Crucial deficient of soil in rice-growing areas in crucial micronutrients like magnesium, calcium, copper, zinc, manganese, and boron.
  • Low rice yield and micronutrient content


  • The technology supplements essential elements directly to plant leaves,
  • Enhances both grain yield and nutritional value. It can be used in various soil conditions.
  • The nutrients are quickly absorbed through the leaves, providing immediate benefits to the plant.

Key points to design your business plan

This technology is beneficial for end users (farmers, aggregators):

Using this technology helps you to address the challenge of low micronutrient content in rice, enhancing both grain yield and nutritional value.

For the cost structure, consider that:

  • The cost per kilogram of microelement in fertilizers amounts to: 4.3 USD (sulfate), 16.2 USD (zinc chelate), 6.0 USD (iron sulfate), 6.2 USD (sodium pentaborate) and 14.6 USD (copper sulfate). 
  • Protective kits for one person at 40 USD
  • Top-quality agricultural knapsack sprayers with a tank of 20 liter are sold at US $ 30 to 45, and 
  • Renting tractor-mountable sprayers costs approximately US $ 100 to 300 per hour and 1-3 hectares of rice paddies can be treated in one hour.

Training is important.

As key partners you need agro dealers.

You need to estimate the profit realized with the use of this practice knowing that in Brazil and Malaysia, foliar application of zinc, copper and boron to rice crops has been shown to increase grain yield by 7% to 30%, as well as strengthen resistance to fungal diseases like brown spot, rice blast and sheath blight, as compared to when no micronutrients are supplied.


Positive or neutral impact

Adults 18 and over
Positive high
The poor
Positive medium
Positive medium

Positive or neutral impact

Climate adaptability
It adapts really well
It doesn't hurt them
Carbon footprint
It doesn't reduce emissions at all
It doesn't make a difference
Soil quality
It doesn't harm the soil's health and fertility
Water usage
It uses the same amount of water

Countries with a green colour
Tested & adopted
Countries with a bright green colour
Countries with a yellow colour
Egypt Equatorial Guinea Ethiopia Algeria Angola Benin Botswana Burundi Burkina Faso Democratic Republic of the Congo Djibouti Côte d’Ivoire Eritrea Gabon Gambia Ghana Guinea Guinea-Bissau Cameroon Kenya Libya Liberia Madagascar Mali Malawi Morocco Mauritania Mozambique Namibia Niger Nigeria Republic of the Congo Rwanda Zambia Senegal Sierra Leone Zimbabwe Somalia South Sudan Sudan South Africa Eswatini Tanzania Togo Tunisia Chad Uganda Western Sahara Central African Republic Lesotho
Countries where the technology has been tested and adopted
Country Tested Adopted
Benin Tested Adopted
Burkina Faso Tested Adopted
Burundi Tested Adopted
Cameroon Tested Adopted
Côte d’Ivoire Tested Adopted
Democratic Republic of the Congo Tested Adopted
Ethiopia Tested Adopted
Ghana Tested Adopted
Kenya Tested Adopted
Madagascar Tested Adopted
Malawi Tested Adopted
Mozambique Tested Adopted
Niger Tested Adopted
Nigeria Tested Adopted
Rwanda Tested Adopted
Senegal Tested Adopted
Tanzania Tested Adopted
Togo Tested Adopted
Uganda Tested Adopted
Zambia Tested Adopted
Zimbabwe Tested Adopted

This technology can be used in the colored agro-ecological zones. Any zones shown in white are not suitable for this technology.

Agro-ecological zones where this technology can be used
AEZ Subtropic - warm Subtropic - cool Tropic - warm Tropic - cool

Source: HarvestChoice/IFPRI 2009

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals that are applicable to this technology.

Sustainable Development Goal 8: decent work and economic growth
Goal 8: decent work and economic growth
Sustainable Development Goal 2: zero hunger
Goal 2: zero hunger
Sustainable Development Goal 3: good health and well-being
Goal 3: good health and well-being

  1. Selection: Choose the right foliar micronutrient solution tailored for rice crops, ensuring it contains essential elements like magnesium, calcium, copper, zinc, manganese, and boron.

  2. Safety: Wear appropriate protective equipment during application to prevent any potential health risks, especially if the solution contains additional chemicals or pesticides.

  3. Timing: Apply the solution at the appropriate growth stage of the rice, preferably when the plant leaves are most receptive, typically six to eight weeks after planting or at critical growth stages.

  4. Dilution: Dilute the concentrated solution as recommended, ensuring the correct concentration for optimal uptake by the plants.

  5. Application: Using a sprayer, evenly spray the solution onto the rice canopy. Ensure the droplets are fine for maximum absorption. A nebulizer sprayer can be particularly effective.

  6. Coverage: Ensure complete coverage of all plant leaves, as this is where absorption primarily takes place.

Last updated on 22 May 2024