The Acacia Senegal tree grows in Sudan’s North Kordofan State and produces a resin known as gum arabic--a major ingredient in paint, glue, cosmetics, and many other products used everyday all over the world. Sudan is one of the world’s biggest producers of gum arabic with 20% percent of Sudan’s population making their living from its cultivation.
With the generous support from donors like you, the Near East Foundation’s (NEF) project in Sudan’s North Kordofan State has had considerable impact on gum arabic production and has helped farmers better provide for their families and invest in their communities.
NEF has helped gum arabic cultivators empower themselves by providing them with access to micro-credit, business training, Acacia seeds and seedlings, as well as training workshops on how to maximize gum yields while preserving local Acacia woodlands.
With the gum arabic farming communities on stronger footing, this month marks the end of our campaign on Global Giving. Our work in Sudan and with gum arabic farmers continues – and we hope that you will continue to follow our activities and the impact of our projects through our website, Facebook page, or Twitter feed.
We thank you for your unstinting support for vulnerable farming families in Sudan’s North Kordofan State, and leave you with a few highlights of the impact of your donation. These are just a few of the many successes of the project:
Those who have benefited perhaps best express the impact of your donation:
“With the support of the Near East Foundation, I have learned new ways to increase my income and improve my family’s well-being through gum arabic, agriculture, and micro-credit projects,” said Mahdi, a gum arabic farmer from Sudan’s North Kordofan State. “We have also learned the value of gum arabic trees and the importance of protecting this resource.”
THANK YOU!!! Your generous support has allowed NEF to work with communities in Sudan to build sustainable solutions that will benefit community members for years to come. We hope that you will continue to follow NEF’s work! For more on Global Giving, consider NEF's work in rural Armenia.
In the first few months of 2014, Sudanese farmers who participated in trainings made possible by your generous support increased their average income from 200 SDG to 900 SDG per month – that is nearly $120 per month!
This amount is substantial for vulnerable families in this impoverished region of Sudan.
The Near East Foundation conducted the training in Um Rawaba where farmers learned successful strategies in gum arabic farming techniques and gained access to microfinance. The skills farmers gained at this workshop have translated into increased gum arabic production – and contributed to the increases in household income.
Huda, a gum arabic farmer and mother of 9 in North Kordofan, learned through the training session how her techniques were actually inadvertently damaging her production and destroying the crop on which her livelihood depends.
“Before taking part in the training workshops, I had little idea of best practices for cultivating and collecting gum arabic from the local Acacia woodlands,” Huda said. “Without much consideration for the trees, we used them for many things: charcoal production, firewood, and gum arabic.”
Thanks to your support, Huda and other farmers like her are actually increasing their income while helping to preserve the Acacia tree.
“The workshops taught me the how to harvest gum arabic in a way that actually stimulates tree growth,” Huda said. “It has also shown me how to manage loans and revenue.”
NEF has pioneered innovative solutions to economic development challenges impacting communities throughout the Sudan for over three decades. With your generous support, we can continue helping farmers like Huda Muhammad to build a more prosperous and sustainable future.
Thank you for your ongoing support - it is vital to vulnerable gum arabic farmers and their families in Sudan!
For Idris Abdullah, a gum arabic farmer from Al Adiat Asharqia, the arrival of summer used to signal the time for his annual migration in search of alternative sources of income. This meant leaving his family and village behind for uncertain prospects and no guarantee of financial reward for his journey.
However, life has changed for Idris and his family because of the support he received from NEF thanks to generous donors like you.
By employing new skills he learned from NEF trainings, Idris increased his sesame harvest from 2 to 5 sacks in previous years to 35 sacks this year! With the increase in production and profits from his crop, Idris is able to provide for his family without having to journey away from his village.
NEF offers workshops where hundreds of farmers like Idris have learned a variety of new skills to improve the management and sustainability of gum arabic-producing Acacia trees on which their livelihoods – and a substantial portion of the local economy in North Kordofan, Sudan – is based. This is no small matter when one considers that a large part of the world’s supply of gum arabic, which is used in many everyday products such as soft drinks, comes from this region.
With his additional income, Idris is providing financial backing to his village to help advance their collective efforts to protect the Acacia woodlands from fire, arbitrary cutting, and improper harvesting practices.
At the NEF training workshops, farmers also learn new skills in other areas such as project and financial management. This is crucial to help farmers prepare to handle the increased revenue they may earn through better farming methods. We also share strategies on how to efficiently use micro-loan financing they may receive to support the planting of new crops.
NEF recently conducted four training workshops for over 425 members of Gum Arabic Producer Associations in Sudan. During the workshops farmers gained knowledge and had the opportunity to see the impact of the project’s activities first hand through tours of local farms and communities where improved gum arabic management techniques have been put into practice.
With the success of farmers like Idris, word about the project and its benefits is spreading to neighboring villages beyond the project area. Local farmers are sharing the best practices they’ve learned to increase the quality and quantity of their harvest – and ultimately increase market value and profits.
Thanks to your support, more are more vulnerable farmers like Idris have the ability to better provide for their families and communities, and to help protect the sustainability of the natural resources they depend upon for survival. THANK YOU!
In the last quarter, farmers in Sudan received 5,000 Acacia Senegal tree seedlings from the Near East Foundation (NEF) as efforts to ensure the future of an important source of income continue.
The trees provide gum arabic, a stabilizer used in products as varied as soft drinks and watercolor paint. Sudan is one of the top producers of gum arabic in the world.
NEF not only is training small farmers in methods to increase gum arabic production in the present, the organization also is working to ensure there will be enough trees for future production.
NEF held meetings to explain to communities why it's important to protect the Acacia trees, and also worked with Sudan's National Forest Corporation to set new rules and procedures for protecting the trees. Along with distributing the seedlings, NEF and the National Forest Corporation recently dispensed seeds.
The amount of gum arabic being harvested already is increasing as a result of NEF's training on production and small business operations. As a result, area farmers are starting to see an increase in their incomes!
Your support is vital to Sudan's gum arabic farmers and to NEF's efforts on their behalf. Thank you for helping these farmers support themselves and their families and for making sure there are Acacia trees for future generations!
What do soft drinks, cake mixes, mascara, fireworks, and watercolor paints have in common? It is likely they all use gum arabic – an effective stabilizer harvested from the Acacia Senegal tree. This natural substance has been collected from acacia trees since antiquity.
Sudan is one of the top producers of gum arabic in the world, and the production of this commodity is booming. Smallholder farmers, however, often lack the skills and knowledge to fully benefit from this trade. The Near East Foundation’s project in Sudan’s North Kordofan State has had considerable impact on gum arabic production and continues to expand to help more farmers better provide for their families and invest in their communities.
This year saw a significant increase in gum arabic production, as a result both of heavy rains last year and improved techniques by farmers. The project has helped farmers establish protected areas for Acacia Senegal trees. As livestock is now kept out of these forests, the trees are able to grow fully – and farmers are able to harvest more gum.
The Near East Foundation is continuing to work with farmers to increase production even further. Over the past months, NEF has facilitated the distribution of seeds to 225 farmers in North Kordofan. Each farmer received 1 pound of seeds—enough to cultivate 9 acres of land. Acacia seedlings will be distributed at the end of July, at the height of the rainy season.
NEF is also providing a training to the Gum Arabic Producers Union in Umruwaba Locality in North Kordofan to support members in organizing, advocating for policy changes, marketing, and in managing the environment. This institutional strengthening support was requested by the local union. Over twenty union leaders (both male and female) have improved skills in leadership, gum production, and marketing – and will lead their communities to improved production and sales of gum arabic.
Your support to vulnerable gum arabic farmers in North Kordofan-and the institutions that support them--helps to promote sustainable livelihoods in Sudan. Thank you!
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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
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