FAO in Sudan

FAO launches project to boost climate action in Sudan’s gum Arabic belt


FAO Sudan held an inception workshop to kick off activities for the Green Climate Fund (GCF) project entitled,  “Gums for Adaptation and Mitigation in Sudan (GAMS),” focused on enhancing the adaptive capacity of local communities and restoring the carbon sink potential of the Gum Arabic belt, as part of efforts to expand Africa’s Great Green Wall.

Key stakeholders gathered to discuss the core elements of the project, from the objectives and geographical coverage, to implementation arrangements and activities.

This USD 10 million project will be implemented jointly by FAO and Sudan’s Forest National Corporation (FNC), in collaboration with the Higher Council for Environment and Natural Resources.

Activities under the GAMS project are aligned with national adaptation and mitigation priorities focused on building the climate resilience of local communities and ecosystems, restoring gum agroforestry systems, and reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. In addition, the project addresses the challenges that face gum arabic producers, pastoralists, local communities, government entities, the gum arabic value chain and other stakeholders. 

Gum arabic trees for a better life and environment

Sudan is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to climate change. Over 80 percent of the country’s labour force is employed in agriculture and livestock herding; the vast majority are smallholder producers, food insecure and poor. Gum arabic trees play a critical role in supporting these smallholder farmers’ livelihoods, providing up to 38 percent of their income.

“Restoring agroforestry systems with drought-resistant gum trees will make dryland farming more resilient in the face of expected increases in moisture stress due to climate change, with crops benefiting from ecosystem services provided by gum trees, such as reduced evapotranspiration, increased water infiltration and soil moisture retention,” said Babagana Ahmadu, FAO Representative to Sudan.

In the North, West and South Kordofan States where project activities will be carried out, 98 percent of agriculture is rainfed, and thus greatly exposed to weather and climate threats. GAMS aims to enhance rural smallholder households’ resilience to climate change through climate-resilient gum agroforestry and reforestation on 125,000 hectares accompanied by smallholder gum value chain interventions, and by rehabilitating livestock corridors and restoring 151,000 hectares of associated rangelands, which will improve livestock mobility, enhance the resilience of pastoralists to climate shocks, and take the pressure off gum agroforestry systems, thereby reducing emissions from land use change.

Workshop brings diverse stakeholders together

The workshop attracted a wide array of policymakers from various Ministries, including the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, the Forests National Corporation, the Gum Arabic Council, the Higher Council for Environment and Natural Resources, and the Ministry of Livestock, among others.

Moreover, the workshop brought together project steering committee members, the project management unit (PMU), representatives of the State Coordination Units (SCUs) and Locality Teams (LTs), as well as forest practitioners and farmers’ representatives from gum producer associations. Representatives from gum arabic trading companies, microfinance institutions, NGOs, universities and research centers were also in attendance.

The project will facilitate contract farming arrangements between gum exporters willing to pay premium price for clean, dry gum and smallholder farmers, thus mobilizing private sector financing and guaranteeing sustainability of project results after the completion of the implementation period.