08 June 2011, Thikene Ndiaye - The President of the Women's Committee Fatou Seye extracting scoring the bark of an Acacia tree to start the sap flowing (gum arabic). Acacia trees offers many benefits. They feed the soil by capturing nitrogen that restores fertility, serve as shelter for crops and also provide sap or gum arabic, which is a valued commodity in the international market, thus adding economic gain to the growers. Additionally, Acacia is a source of fodder for livestock and food for local communities.
FAO Project: GTFS/RAF/387/ITA - Acacia Operation. Support to Food Security, Poverty Alleviation and Soil Degradation Control in the Gums and Resins Producer Countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Kenya, Niger, Senegal, Sudan)
Gum arabic, myrrh and frankincense are abundant in the Sahel region of sub-Saharan Africa. These local resources present the way forward to sustainable management and development of the Sahel regions, which naturally have fewer options due to difficult environmental conditions. However, irregularity of supply accompanied by fluctuating prices and variable quality from some sources results in unfavourable long-term effects on the demand of these commodities. As a result, producing countries are experiencing problems in relation to commercialization and ensuring a value-added product in relation to international markets. A coordinated strategy among producer countries and partners is therefore needed to capitalize on the existing opportunities and address the constraints. In fact a coordinated strategy will enable producing countries to have better control of the international trade and share different experience in the area of production, processing, quality control and marketing. The project seeks to address these areas and prepare a 10-year plan for development of gum and resin production in the framework of the NGARA network.