Associations harps on maintain commercial value of raw gum

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The National Association of Gum Arabic Producers, Processors and Exporters of Nigeria (NAGAPPEN), on Wednesday said that it would ensure that raw gum maintained its high commercial value at local and international markets.

National Chairman of the association, Chief Chidume Okoro, said in Abuja that it would be the focus of the new leadership of the association.

Okoro said that the association would work closely with government agencies and other stakeholders to ensure increased production of gum arabic in the country.

According to him, the new leadership of NAGAPPEN would sensitise farmers and organise training programmes for those involved in gum arabic production value chain.

Okoro said that the move was intended to promote improved production of high quality gum.

This would include the research institutes and government agencies that have one thing or the other to do with gum arabic.

“This is an internationally traded commodity in which quality is paramount to the success of the product in the market.

“We will also keep on pushing to attract national and international support from donor agencies that are involved in one way or the other in the business of gum,’’ Okoro added.

He said that NAGAPPEN would set up a `network office’ in Abuja to provide information that would aid research and the trade of gum.

“We want to see a functional `network office’ properly equipped so that people looking for information either for trade purposes or for research purposes can get information from the office,’’ he added.

Okoro expressed worry that desert encroachment and insurgency were affecting gum production in Nigeria.

According to him, Nigeria has lost a lot of grounds to encroachments and activities of insurgents are eating forests that we get a lot of gum.

He said that the association would support farmers with seedlings at zero cost as a way of boosting production.

“We will seek government’s support for farmers that are involved in the domestication of this product by increasing the production of gum arabic nationally

“This is an internationally traded commodity in which quality is paramount to the success of the product in the market.

“We will also keep on pushing to attract national and international support from donor agencies that are involved in one way or the other in the business of gum.

“Gum arabic tree is used extensively in waging the encroachment of desert and desertification going down south and this is one of the problems making herdsmen come down south because their animals are not able to get pastures from the dry lands,’’ Okoro said.

Okoro further called for synergy among all stakeholders to move the sub-sector forward.