Desertification and the Gum Arabic Tree (Acacia senegal)

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Women of Demira harvesting gum arabic growing on an acacia tree (IFAD)

Using Gum Arabic Trees To Combat Desert Encroachment

By Mamman Mohammed

The rising demand for Gum Arabic in the international market for the production of certain foods and beverages, pharmaceuticals, paints and polish, has made the plant a major foreign exchange earner for some countries in the Sub-Saharan region. For several countries, the Gum Arabic tree is not only a major player in the economy but also a viable plant that is used in designed efforts to deal with the menace of desertification.


Gum Arabic -
Gum Arabic –

The Gum Arabic tree serves as a wind breaker and it protects the soil against erosion, while aiding the soil to regain its fertility for agricultural production. The high resistance plant, which can withstand the arid climatic conditions of the Sub-Saharan region, is widely regarded as a viable economic resource and a veritable shield against environmental hazards. In Nigeria, desert encroachment has certainly threatened crop production and food security, particularly in the northern part of the country.

Read the full article: The Nigerian Observer

Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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