Khartoum — According to Sudan's Gum Arabic Council, the country exported 27,000 tons of Gum Arabic in the first five months of this year.
The secretary-general of the Gum Arabic Council, Dr Abdelmajid Abdelgader, told Sudan Vision Daily that the revenues this year so far amount to $ 45 million. Last year, the country's export of gum Arabic reached 63,000 tons, with total proceeds of $ 120 million.
The Council participated in the international Gum Arabic Fair that was recently held in Algeria. Abdelgader said that the Sudanese pavilion in the fair received "a big turnout from companies and businessmen from the Arab and African countries".
Gum Arabic is an emulsifier and a stabiliser made from the branches of the acacia Senegal tree. Apart from for instance shoe polish and ink, the food industry uses the stabiliser in chocolate and sweets, and, most importantly, in soft drinks, as it binds the sugar to the drink.
Sudan, Chad, and Nigeria produce 95 percent of gum Arabic exported to the world market. Sudan is the globe's foremost producer at an estimated 88,000 tons a year.
The gum Arabic belt covers about one fifth of the country. North Kordofan and North Darfur are the largest producers, followed by the states of Blue Nile, White Nile, and El Gedaref.
Sudanese gum Arabic was the only exemption when the USA imposed trade sanctions, for supporting terrorism, against Sudan in 1997. The USA said that such a ban would have hurt the country's food industry. Nevertheless, in August 2015, a US delegation held talks with the Sudanese Gum Arabic Company whether Sudan was ready to export a sufficient quantity of gum Arabic to the USA.
In the past years, Sudanese economists reported a decline in the export of cotton and gum Arabic. They urged Khartoum to step up the production of gum Arabic to bridge the economic crisis in the country while at the same time meeting the growing demands in the world.