Empowering gum arabic local producers in Darfur
IOM Sudan in collaboration with the agricultural private sector Fair Factory for Manufacturing and Packing Organic Gum Arabic (FOGA) has conducted a comprehensive five-day Gum Arabic Workshop in East Darfur under the Cross Border Peace and Cooperation Project (CBPC) funded by the European Union (17th to 21st July).
The workshop focused on empowering more than 60 small-scale producers of the popular cash crop “Acacia Gum”, as well as representatives of farmer associations and unions from four gum producing localities in East Darfur State. Thousands of Sudanese are dependent on Gum Arabic for their livelihoods, making Sudan the world’s largest single producer. In fact, Gum Arabic production accounts for 10% to 15% of Sudan’s non-oil export earnings. Out of Sudan’s national production, about 15% comes from Darfur.
The CBPC training aimed to improve harvesting techniques that will protect the environment, promote self-reliance and foster economic growth and stability within the community. Moreover, the sessions deepened in the process of Gum Arabic extraction, purchasing, manufacturing and selling through the use of standard and sustainable methods. In order to ensure a sustainable economic model in the region and support vulnerable populations such as women and youth who work in the agricultural sector, the workshop addressed the importance of increasing the engagement between the private sector and relevant governmental institutions towards community associations in Darfur.
The workshop also provided local producers with information about the different stakeholders, market conditions, micro finance support and the importance of growing the internationally valued product. During the sessions, participants acquired knowledge on the private and agricultural sector and start-up kits were distributed. The training also addressed the long-term competition between farmers and pastoralists over natural resources in the region, emphasizing the importance of a peaceful coexistence.