Borno is primarily an agrarian society. The majority of the people are farmers, herdsmen and fishermen. There is also considerable local trade in sorghum, millet, corn (maize), rice, cotton and indigo. The state is the most important livestock-producing area in Nigeria, an industry dominated by the Fulani and Shuwa. Livestock (mainly cattle, but also goats and sheep), cattle hides, goatskins and sheepskins, finished leather products, dried fish, crocodile skins, peanuts (groundnuts) and gum arabic are all exported from its capital, Maiduguri. Cattle rearing and poultry farming take place in the surrounding countryside, as does fishing along the shores of Lake Chad and the Yedseram. Other local industries include cotton weaving, dyeing and the tanning of leather.
The mineral resources in the state include clay, salt, potash, limestone, kaolin, sandstone, iron ore, uranium, quartz, magnesite, mica and granite.
The tertiary institutions in the state include a federal university (University of Maiduguri); a state university (Borno State University, Maiduguri); a state polytechnic (Ramat Polytechnic, Maiduguri); two state colleges of education (Sir Kashim College of Education, Waka Biu and Umar Ibn Ibrahim El Kanemi College of Education, Science and Technology, Bama); the Mohammet Lawan College of Agriculture, Maiduguri; the Mohammed Goni College of Legal and Islamic Studies (BOCOLIS); the Borno College of Agriculture and the Federal Staff Training Centre, Maiduguri.