09 June 2011, Liguere - An acacia tree plantation. With two thirds of the African continent now classified as desert or drylands and desertification affecting a quarter of the world's population, this project has the potential to transform the lives of vulnerable populations. In operation since 2004, the FAO Acacia Project has involved the planting and managing of acacia tree forests in arid lands helping combat desertification while providing socio-economic benefits to local communities through the sale of the sap, known as gum arabic.
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)
Objectives 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.