Category: Reports

Famers’ Associations Role in the Rehabilitation of Gum Arabic Belt in North Kordofan

This paper on “The Role of Famers’ Associations in the Rehabilitation of Gum Arabic Belt in North Kordofan” was presented by Ms. Fatima M.A. Ramly, National Coordinator for GAPAs.
The paper is concerned with establishment and organization of local gum producers’ associations and their role in managing gum forest resources and enhancing the livelihood of gum producers in Sudan: Case of North Kordofan State.
The local institutions possess the capacity and creativity of people to create bodies that effectively serve their needs. There are positive examples of what can happen when people have control of their own lives in solving the problems they are facing. But there are many questions concerning the possibilities to work with and through local institutions as a more effective strategy for achieving sustainable natural resource management.
Local institutions embody the local knowledge that has evolved in culturally and ecologically specific situations. In this paper special emphasis was given to the local farmer’s associations in the field of gum production.
North Kordofan State is selected as a case-study representative of the gum belt because it has traditionally been regarded in the Sudan as a major source of primary agricultural production.
Kordofan contributed substantially to national foreign exchange earnings through the export of cashcrops, particularly sesame, hibiscus, groundnuts,
Melon seed, livestock and hides. And has been known for the production of gum Arabic. Until 1960 Sudan exported 85% of global demand of gum Arabic 50% of this from Kordofan.
Traditional agroforestry, tree-fallow/cropping rotationsystem, practiced by farmers for generations. The hashab tree was the key to this traditional system and in maintaining ecological balance.

Since 1960 onwards, the apparently well-balancedtraditional system began to decline due to variety offactors, mainly the drought of 1973 - 1984 -1985.Some projects exerted considerable efforts torehabilitate the gum belt in the state to combat thedesert, but the price of gum Arabic is decliningcompared with other cash crops that led farmers notto tap their hashab trees, but cut them for charcoal.

Associations Establishment

The initial Associations were comprised of farmers whose income is derived predominantly from the production and sale of Gum Arabic. The Restocking of GA Belt Project (1980-1995) assisted in the establishment and formation of twenty Farmers’ Associations by the end of 1994. Moreover FNC established additional 300 associations after thetermination of the project in North Kordofan up to date.

The idea of formation of GAPAs started at specific site (N.
Kordofan State 1992), and replicated at different producing states in Sudan.
The participation of stakeholders in GAPAs is outstanding.
Total No. of GAPAs in Sudan 2975. Registered 2516. Total member (1.5 million HH, 40% women). Total area of gum trees/ha 1.22 million

How do we encourage them?

By;Community mobilization and organization through
Extension campaign; Needs Assessment, Community priorities, Leaders and Committee election, Start with women, they are always available, patient and hard workers,Let them participate in everything, planning, design their working plan, Who, What, When, and How? Evaluate their forest activities
Involvement of National Administration fromthe  beginningby;Women Training in Seeds collection, nursery tech.,transport to field, etc.Tree seeds collection byCommunitiesRaising of seedlings- Community Nurseries


A lot of efforts were spent to increase farmers’ technical know-how and managerial skills through training, workshops, and field-days for both Field Extension Agents and Associations committees. In 2002 the model evaluated by FNC,
In 2003, (115) forestry graduates employed to organize[F1] the establishment of Farmers’ Associations in the gum producing states. The current business of Associations includes: Planning of reforestation, by seeds and seedlings, Village and home nurseries, Management and tapping of gum garden, Harvesting, collection, storage, and Selling of gum and NWFPs. Community Woodlot (HashabPlantation – Sand Dune Fixation)


Despite positive indicators problems emerge: Desertification, land degradation, drought ...etc.Mismanagement of the fragile natural resources,Traditional production & marketing patterns, Poor infrastructures, services, administrative setups,coupled with policy distortion have led to:Low standard of living (2nd lower rate), Poverty (60% below poverty line), Rural-urban migration (2nd higher rate), Unemployment (very high), Displacement, ... etc.)


The area of the associations is characterized by big family
Sizes.  After the establishment of the association, areas under Hashab increased. The extension service contributed to the safeguard of the gum gardens. Seedlings production at the village level helped the farmers to gain technical know-how.
Farmers in areas without associations are aware about the
Role of the associations in raising the standard of living and
Their contribution to the development of the study area.

Lessons Learnt

Introduction of incentives e.g. REDD+ and Carbon
Market, motivations and extension service would highly
Encourage the farmers to manage their gum gardens for gum
The FNC should investigate suitable means for motivating
The farmers to tap their trees. Provision of public services, particularly drinkable water, will help in the process of gum tapping and picking since the main cost of gum production is the cost of provision of drinking water to the labors.

Future prospects.. What is needed?

-Policies and Socio-economical aspects of NTFPs and GA in
Particular should be given sufficient considerations in national Strategies. -Policies should favor infrastructures and services at GA
Production and marketing sites.
-Local governance legislations should promote accumulation of small rural markets to improve services and infrastructures. • Establishment of national strategic buffer-stock in GA Commodity • Policies should encourage smart partnerships between GAPAs and private sector on the basis of powerful sharing
-Facilitation of microfinance through easy collaterals for GA
Producers and local traders. •Changing official perception on GA markets from being markets for levying revenues to markets for providing real services. •Auction markets should be pushed towards moreRealistic and competitive transactions in a sense thatPrices of GA to be determined on the light of market forces•Activation of quality control and standard units atthese markets.Implementation of Gum Arabic insurance services in allmarkets.Provision of marketing information systems viaEstablishment of well-equipped trade points.•Establishment of powerful networking to connectRural, urban and auction GA markets.
The FNC has now a successfully tested model that should be adopted, utilized and managed to expand to other Similar areas, encouraging the establishment of gum Arabic Associations, building their capacities, improving their Skills and enabling them to take part in setting policies
And decisions related to pricing, storage, processing and
export of Gum Arabic, encouraging the implementation of sustainable,  Development natural resource projects that involve the local communities. Linking Gum Producers with related institutions policy and legislative bodies and most importantly with the end users.

Future vision

Networking, working with others for adding value to our organic products. Towards Sudanese local products free of microbes and certified