Gum arabic farming provides income for 1 in 5 people in Sudan, and could support more families in impoverished rural areas. Drought, desertification, war, lack of tools and education are challenging farmers' ability to harvest gum arabic, which has global market demand and grows naturally in Sudan's harsh climate. Traditional harvesting techniques have negative environmental and economic impacts. At the current rate, farmers may soon deplete the forest resource they rely upon for survival.
Our project is helping farmers overcome poverty, conserve natural resources, and build peace through training in sustainable gum arabic harvesting techniques and conflict management. Gum arabic production and small-scale farmer incomes increase, while participants preserve forests and water supplies. Community micro-lending provides farmers with funds to purchase supplies that support improved water capture and storage, business planning, and other tools to fight drought and climate change.
This project is improving lives in Sudan's North Kordofan State by increasing current and future income for farmers, helping vulnerable communities become self-sustaining. Forest cover is expanding in the dry "Gum Belt," helping stabilize the environment and fight climate change. Farmers provide a worldwide good by supplying the market with an essential product, while manufacturers and consumers benefit globally from increased supply.
This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).
NEF's Website on the Gum Arabic Project