The National Association of Gum Arabic Producers, Processors and Exporters of Nigeria (NAGAPPEN) has called for federal help in promoting the gum arabic value chain due to its potential to generate foreign exchange, ensure food security and combat desertification and climate change.
The national president of NAGAPPEN, Eze Chidume Okoro, appealed to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to collaborate with other ministries and agencies involved in gum arabic in hopes of growing the subsector.
Okoro noted that it is necessary to restore the prominence of the country’s gum arabic industry so as to ensure the sector’s coordinated development.
Gum arabic is a highly valuable exudate gum obtained from the stems and branches of certain species of the Acacia genus, with wide application in the food, pharmaceutical, beverage, chemical and medical industries. Its common applications include use as a stabilizer, binder, emulsifier and viscosity-increasing agent.
The three largest exporters of crude gum arabic, according to United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, are Sudan (accounting for 66 percent of the world supply), Chad (13 percent) and Nigeria (8.5 percent).
Also commenting on the state of the industry, Victor Iyama, president of the Federation of Agricultural Commodity Associations of Nigeria, observed that Nigeria could make a lot of money from expanding the cultivation and export of gum arabic.
Iyama added that the government must be ready to explore ways of diversifying agro export sources and maintaining a sustainable flow of essential items through the maintenance of strategic stockpiles, which he said would help to build a stronger and more flexible food supply chain and increase local food production.