PROJECT: Sustainable, Profitable Gum Arabic Production
DONOR: Flora Family Foundation
BACKGROUND: Sudan exports roughly 50 percent of the world supply of gum arabic, providing a source of income for one in five Sudanese—about 6 million people. This natural forest resource is used widely as a stabilizer in products ranging from soft drinks to pharmaceuticals. But drought, desertification, civil war, and poverty are challenging Sudanese farmers and their ability to harvest gum arabic from the acacia trees that grow naturally in the region’s harsh climate. For impoverished families, the project is improving their incomes and quality of life, bringing hope to rural areas of North Kordofan.
IMPACT: Through a new pilot project, NEF is helping farmers break the poverty cycle, conserve natural water and forest resources, and fight climate change in Sudan’s “Gum Belt.” NEF trains farmers in the latest techniques to increase gum arabic production and promote long-term sustainability, while newly-established microfinancing systems help farmers and their families undertake projects that support both improved production and conservation.