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7. Gum Arabic Report from Sudan


Introduction


By * Omer A/El Karim El Wasila

Gum Arabic - An essential non-wood based products in Sudan

Paper presented in Regional expert Consultation on non-wood Forest Products (NWFP) for English-Speaking African Countries
Arusha, Tanzania
17-22 October 1993

Introduction

Sudan account for nearly 80% of the world production of gum arabic. It is the third largest export item from Sudan, after Cotton and Sorghum. The total production and its distribution between different producing areas have undergone changes (There is a notice declination in Kordofan, Darfur and Eastern State while the Central State is promising). The Gum Arabic company purchased all the quantities produced in the country. However, this is not the actual production. Some of the production is smuggled outside the country especially through Chad and Ethiopia due to the high international; prices in comparison to what is paid to the merchants, hence smuggling is extremely profitable.

Another type of gum produced from Acacia seyal is closely linked to the production of hashab gum (Acacia senegal) when production of hashab gum is high neither the producer nor the gum arabic company are interested in the collection of Talh gum when there is a short fall in production, farmers are started to collect Talh to substitute the loss in hashab although its prices are cheap.

The species which are commercially tapped are Acacia senegal (Hashab), Acacia seyal (Talh) and Boswellia papyrifera (gafal) or Tarag Tarag. 90% of the gum exported from Sudan is hashab. Also there is potential for Sterculia setigera (Tartar or Karaya) in world markets.

Gum Arabic is also a significant source of cash income for the peasant communities occupying the gum belt. Population estimates are highly uncertain, but table 1.1 shows that the areas of Kordofan, Darfur, Eastern and Central States accounts for some 10 million people, with perhaps 2.8 million people living in the gum belt.

Table 1.1 Sudan population estimates 1983 (millions)

State

Urban

Rural

Nomads

Total

Eastern

0.64

1.01

0.56

2.21

Central

0.83

2.96

0.24

4.01

Kordofan

0.39

1.92

0.78

3.09

Darfur

0.32

2.31

0.47

3.09

Others

1. 97

6.04

0.14

8.15

Total

4.15

14.22

2.19

20.56

Source: Sudan Department of Statistics (1983) third population census.

Gum Arabic is an essential commercial crop to the people of these states beside the tree has a multi-functional purposes, providing a number of products of direct use and benefits to the farming communities and, most significantly acting as an environmental stabilizer, within the gum belt which lie between 10 and 14 degree latitude.

(a) Production

In the last 5 years (1988/89 - 1992/93) the production showed a significant reduce as depicts in table 1.2 below:

Season

Quantity in Tonnes

1988/89

38948

1989/90

25733

1990/91

12061

1991/92

7330

1992/93

10870

* Source: Gum Arabic Company - Khartoum

The Production declination is due to the following reasons:

1. Drought and desertification problems in 1983/84 especially in Northern and Eastern Kordofan and
Northern Darfur which followed by interregional migration to the gum producers.

2. Locust infestation, which covered all the gum belt areas extending from the Eastern to the Western border for many seasons.

3. Rainfall fluctuation in some areas, in addition to the extend of rainy season till October in others.

4. Rising cost of living in rural areas and the lack of cash in the hands of the farmers/gum producers after 1983/84 drought.

(b) Gum Arabic Export Value

Table 1.3 gives the value of exports since 1989. There is a clear fluctuation from year to another which reflect the fluctuation in production as shown in Table 1.2.

Table 1.3 Value of Gum Arabic exports (in U.S.$ 000)

Year

Value

1989

46788.99

1990

54594.74

1991

50818.66

1992

23496.65

* Source: Gum Arabic Company - Khartoum

(c) Role of Gum Arabic Company: (Solving Problems)

1. Producers

(a) Participation in policies concerning production marketing and the future of Gum Arabic trade (4 seats were reserved in the administrative council).

(b) Contribution in the capital of Gum Arabic Company.

(c) The company purchase the excess in production.

(d) Execution of the minimum price policy announced by the government.

(e) Non exploitation insurance.

(f) Execution of emergency programmes to combat locust, best and diseases, water availability at production sites, execution of development programmes, development of production, and protection of Hashab Trees.

2. Merchant

(a) Existing of definite price in addition to excellent revenue.

(b) Availability of inputs and requirements.

(c) Solving Transportation problems.

(d) Combat smuggling.

(e) Organizing internal markets and open new one.

(f) organizing cleaning operations in addition to selection and quality.

3. Production

(a) Protection of hashab Trees from locust by subsidizing protection department.

(b) Protection of Hashab Trees from fires by coordination between the agricultural departments (Forestry, ranges and pasture).

(c) Promotion of production and development of other gums e.g. Talh and Tartar.

(d) Role of FNC Corporation

1. Participation in development, planting, protection and conservation.

2. Future planning for production continuity and production of new types of gums.

3. Conservation of natural resources (trees) plus the environment.

4. Control funds provided for Gum Arabic afforestation by the Gum Arabic Company and GOS development budget. Also provides advisory services (Table 1.4).

5. Provide extension activities arising from research in establishment and tapping also product promotion for fruits, medicine and fodder.

Table 1.4 Talh and Hashab Afforestation programs in Feddans for 93/94 in the country

State

Hashab

Talh

Total

Central

25275

8540

33815

Eastern

14000

5100

19100

Kordofan

18200

-

18200

Darfur

3000

-

3000

Khartoum

-

100

100

Total

60475

13740

74215

* Source: FNC Corporation Khartoum

[* Omer A/El Karim El Wasila
B.Sc. (Forest.) Hons. U. of K.
P.G. Diploma (Regional Development and Planning). U. of K.
M. Sc. (Forest Economics) U. of K.
Currently Fill the post of Gums and non-wood based products manager FNC - Khartoum, P.O. Box 658, Sudan.]


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