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The current situation and prospects for gum arabic in Kenya: A promising sector for pastoralists living in arid lands

Chretin M., Chikamai B.N., Ekai Loktari P., Ngichili J., Loupa N., Odee D.W., Lesueur D.. 2008. International Forestry Review, 10 (1) : p. 14-22.

Gum arabic, a natural exudate produced by Acacia senegal trees, is available in abundance in Kenya, mainly in the northern part of the country, but its exploitation is marginal. This study, conducted among harvesters, traders and other actors involved in the development and business of the gum arabic industry in Kenya has shown and confirmed the results of other researches, that the supply chain is currently under-developed. Harvesters do not collect sufficient quantities of gum arabic because they are not linked to buyers, and when they are the low prices they receive discourage them from developing that income generating activity. Pastoralists currently only collect gum when they see it, and do not use modern harvesting techniques. They stand to benefit from that activity if they are more organized and if that business was more developed in the country. Recognizing the unmet international demand for gum arabic and the largely untapped reserves growing in the wild and in abundance in the northern part of the country suggests that improvements can be made to harvesting and marketing. Through training, with specific attention to quality issues and international requirements, the constitution of stocks in collection areas and the development of direct links with traders, Kenya can penetrate the international market of gum arabic and improve its market share. Various activities have been undertaken and have already shown good results. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés : commerce international; marché; récolte; acacia senegal; pastoralisme; commercialisation; secteur agroindustriel; gomme arabique; kenya; filière agro-alimentaire

Thématique : Systèmes et modes de culture; Elevage - Considérations générales

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