Acacia gum: an important social, economic and environmental role for the Southern Sahel countries
Paris, 14th March 2017 - The acacia tree is among one of the most promising resources of Africa. It produces the gum of the same name: Acacia Gum, that we regularly find in products of our daily life.It is time to put the spotlight on the acacia gum (also known as gum Arabic), a natural resource that has many benefits.
Acacia gum has been used since 2650 BC, at the time of ancient Egypt, when it was used in the manufacture of bandages for mummies1 and for food. Its production area spreads far and wide across the “gum belt”, extending from Senegal to Eritrea, in dry and semi-arid areas of the south of Sahara.
Acacia gum is a tremendous economic resource for poor populations of the Sahel. In these territories, around three million people can live their lives thanks to the acacia gum crop2. Acacia trees also represents a great asset for farming and local communities, as it can acclimatise perfectly to dry and desert areas.
Besides its economic interest for the poorest local populations, the harvest of acacia gum has a very positive impact on environmental protection. Acacia trees nourish the soil by fixing nitrogen and restoring fertility. They give shelter and shade to farmers and animals, while producing Acacia Gum. They are a sustainable resource, and their harvest increases productivity of other cultivations and prevent desertification.
Acacia trees are also protecting local biodiversity: In addition to supplying forage for cattle, acacias are a genuine home for several bird species. The root system of acacias can go down to the water table while avoiding the soil degradation3. Acacias are able to hold available water, even from remote depths. The grass carpet created by the bush prevents water run-off and contributes to a reconstruction of water tables. In periods of drought, when the water runs out, acacias provide a much needed water supply to wildlife and domestic species4.
Beyond the amazing natural properties specific to acacia gum5, it is interesting to know that the crop is also 100% organic. Acacia gum harvest can’t be mechanized. Acacia gum supplied by Alland & Robert, one the leading global suppliers well recognized by the largest food groups, is organic, GMO-free, and guaranteed without any pesticide6. Alland & Robert is involved in Africa with a policy of social, environmental and economic responsibility.
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