boosting production of gums and natural resins
Italy funds project
to support poor rural populations in six African
2003, Rome -- Burkina Faso, Chad, Kenya, Niger,
Senegal and Sudan will receive funding to support the production
of gums and natural resins as part of the UN Food and
Agriculture Organization's Operation
Acacia, a project funded by Italy and worth
approximately $3.5 million.
aims to increase the quality and quantity of acacia gum produced
to help the rural poor who live in the semi-arid zones of the
countries bordering the Sahara to achieve self-sufficiency.
Acacia is one of the most common trees
found in the arid zones of sub-Saharan Africa. A highly
versatile plant, it offers several forms of income. Acacia trees
also represent a vital barrier against desertification, whilst
their roots are highly effective at reducing soil erosion and
enriching the soil by capturing nitrogen. The plant's
foliage and pods are a precious source of fodder during dry
periods and the stems are used as firewood and as a material for
Commercially, the most important
product from acacia is Arabic gum, used widely in the
pharmaceutical, food and cosmetic industries.
The acacia project focuses on local people as women
and children are those who collect the resin and process the raw
The project will be funded by
the Organization's Trust Fund for Food Security. The US$
500 million Trust Fund was created by FAO's
Director-General Jacques Diouf following the 2002 World Food
Summit to provide new impetus to the global fight against
Italy has been the first among
member countries to respond to this appeal and has committed
itself to providing 100 million euros of which 50 million euros
have already been received. Italy has already financed projects
in the Caribbean and Central and Eastern Europe.
A further five Trust Fund projects have been approved
and are awaiting signatures from the countries involved.
Contact: Luisa Guarneri Information Officer, FAO
Luisa.GuarneriHynd@fao.org (+39) 06 570
The project signing ceremony: representatives of the Italian delegation, of the countries involved and of FAO