Gum Arabic is a perennial tree found growing wild in large commercial quantity in the northern parts of Nigeria. However, when cultivated it takes about 5years to mature. At maturity, the tree when struck or pierced with sharp metal object like knife, oozes out whitish sticky sparkling substances.

The raw gum command high commercial value both local and international.

Nigeria produces less than 30 per cent as Sudan produces about 70 per cent, leaving about 30 per cent for Nigeria and other gum Arabic producing countries of Mali, Senegal, Chad and Niger Republic.

It is generally believed that Nigeria’s actual production of gum does not reflect her potentiality.

SOURCING
Some of the Gum Arabic producing states in Nigeria includes; Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Yobe, Jigawa, Gombe, Taraba, Plateau, Sokoto, Kebbi, Katsina, Nasarawa ,Niger and Zamfara. Though Borno and Yobe states are the major producers in Nigeria.

PRODUCTION STATISTICS
Nigeria is the leading producer in West Africa. Nigeria currently produces about 20,000 MT of gum Arabic annually, second to Sudan in Africa.

PLANTING SEASON
Sowing is done early in May in order to ensure adequate development of the seedling before transplanting in July.

USES
Gum Arabic is used as thickener, suspender, emulsifier, stabilizer, flavour carrier, binder and encapsulating material.

In addition, it is used in confectionaries, food, beverages, pharmaceuticals and chemical industries.

The gum has binding or adhesive properties and as such is used as a good emulsifying agent. It is therefore most useful to pharmaceutical, food, and beverages flavourings, dairy and ice cream, cosmetics and the confectionary industry.

EXPORT MARKET
The major markets for the product are: Belgium, China, USA, U.K and Japan.

PROCESSING
The processing technology is relatively simple and involves the following: sorting, crushing, dispersion in water, purification or straining, precipitation, separation or centrifuging with alcohol. Drying, milling or spray granulation.
The application of the right machinery in this process will yield a high grade of the refined gum Arabic powder or granules capable of meeting the international trade grading standard.

HARVEST
Gum Arabic is harvested during the dry season because during the rainy season, no gum is formed since the trees are in full bloom. The dry season lasts from October to June and the gum is collected every 10 days during this period. After collection, the gum is brought from the farms and stands to villages from there it’s transported to market.

STORAGE

Gum Arabic should be in clean, cool dry place. It does not deteriorate due to long storage under such favorable condition. However, if stored where rain can affect it, the gum becomes hardened and darkened in colour, and this can affect its quality.

PACKAGING
All gum for export must be packed in double Bagco type bags. The outer bag should be new and sound. Used bag may serve as inner bag, but it must be clean, dry and strong.

GUM ARABIC INVESTMENT SUMMARY

In conclusion, investment opportunities exist for Gum Arabic in Nigeria under the following value chain;

– Production (Gum Arabic Farming)
– Processing
– Storage
– Export
– Packaging

For further information on Gum Arabic investment;

Contact;  Agro News Nigeria Research and Investment Unit
Email; agronewsnigeria@gmail .com or info@agronewsng.com
Call; 08035044364, 07031097516.