By: Dr. Abdelmagid Abdelgader (M. SC, Ph.D.,), Secretary General - Gum Arabic Board “SUDAN”.
Khartoum, Sudan (World Conference on Gum Arabic)-Gum Arabic is the exudate produced by two major trees, Acacia Senegal and Acacia Seyal, in addition to 30 other Acacia trees, which, all, comprise the so called Gum Arabic Belt in the Sudan.
Gum Arabic trees throughout the gum Arabic belt depend completely on Rain and no supplementary irrigation is given. The Rainy season is limited to the months June – September. Also the trees do not receive any fertilizers and don’t receive any form of chemicals whether insecticides or pesticides. The trees and their product is hundred percent ORGANIC.
This Gum Arabic belt extends from the eastern boarders of Sudan with Ethiopia to the Western Boarders with Chad and central Africa, covering an area of half a million Squired kilometers (500,000) KM².
The Gum belt trees together represented a suitable environment to host 90% percent of Sudan animal population, around 130,000,000 million animals (Sheep, Cattles, and Camels) and provides 60% of the natural forage for these animals.
The Gum Arabic belt and its trees constitute the most suitable micro climate for the rainfall of 1000 billion cubic meters of Rain supplying the ground reservoirs and maintain the rain fed agriculture and supplying the Nile River and its attributaries and considered the main supply of water to Egypt and other countries.
Accordingly the gum Arabic Belt will continue to be the main important factor for supply of water and a place for food security and a strategic location for food security to the Arab and African Countries.
The Sudan and its neighbouring countries depend wholly on the Gum Arabic Belt for charcoal and firewood in the absence of Petrol. The Gum belt trees Supply the Sudan with 1,200,000 Tons of Charcoal annually in addition to the supply of 5,000,000 tons of wood for burning and building.
The gum Arabic Belt trees mostly belong to the family leguminaise which gives natural fertilization to the soils and emit oxygen.
The Gum Arabic Belt of the Sudan is housing all available wild life in addition to the migrating birds from Europe which fly during the winter season and stay in the Belt during the period October to March. Of course for this international issue the world community is held responsible to sustain the environment and increase the Gum trees.
The Gum Arabic commodity is a very important ingredient in food industry, drinks, and medicines in addition to other textile and paints industry.
For all these reasons the Sudan government and the local farmers are exerting big efforts to develop the gum Arabic belt and making it a very sustainable source. Also the Gum importers, the environment concerned authorities and Worldwide NGOs have great interest to consider the Gum Arabic belt as a sustainable source.