Welcome to NGARA

Networking to Improve the Production, Processing, Marketing and Rights to Gum and Resin Trees: The NGARA Experience

By B. Chikamai, F. Ramly, A. Maisharou and S. Thiam

  1. Background

    • NGARA - Pan African organization to assist African producing countries and partners formulate a coordinated strategy for the sustainable development of their natural gums, resins and allied dryland resources, for improving rural livelihood and environmental conservation, thereby position African producer countries and partners as major global players in the production, processing and marketing of gums, resins and allied dryland commodities.

           ▶ Key commodities - gum Arabic, frankincense, myrrh, opoponax, aloe and indigenous fruits

    • Established in 2000, NGARA has a membership of 16 countries in the Sahel and Eastern Africa Region.
    • Since establishment: Strengthened existing farmers (Producer) Associations in six member countries and provided a framework for establishment of the same in 10 member countries; enhanced production of the commodities in member countries, especially non-traditional producing countries, which has contributed to increased production of gum Arabic to about 80,000 MT GA and 6,000 MT gum resins; carried out exploratory resource mapping in member countries and developed national and regional databases that have provided information on potential production; improved information exchange among NGARA member countries and enhanced close collaboration between the Anglophone and Francophone speaking countries; and contributed to the current specification of gum arabic in food and pharmaceutical applications.

  2. Status of Values of and Access and Rights to Tree Resources for Enhanced Livelihood and Restoration of Landscapes
    • Value of the commodities is well acknowledged and awareness has enhanced their importance as articles of commerce, initiative of networking

    • However, access and rights to plant/tree resources – poorly understood.

           ▶  Plant/tree resources – drylands (ASALs) of Sahel and Eastern Africa.
      • Most of the land – communal ownership, land accessible to every member of community; pastoralism/ranching hence policies on LU livestock production

      • Land – trust land by county governments on behalf of communities (Trust Land Act Cap 288), inadequate protection for land rights and access to key commons resources by communities, decisions without inputs by communities

      • Most of the commodities (gums and resins) – natural exudation, accessible to everyone

      • Women/children key players collection - culture excludes women from owning and/or controlling rangelands and other property, hence meaningful economic engagement and attainment of sustainable livelihoods

  3. Opportunities to Improve the Production, Processing, Marketing and Rights to the Resources/Commodities
    • Enhancing ownership of land and/or tree resources
      • Sudan leader in the production of GA - Tree incorporated bush-fallow agroforestry system [long period of fallow ≈10-15 years under trees & short periods ≈3-5 years under crops], gum gardens owned by farmers
      • FMNR – ownership to land by communities – Niger; Ownership private firms lease land establish plantations – Niger and Senegal (GA, karaya gum), communities don’t benefit apart from employment
      • Enacting relevant policies and laws
      • Enhancing technologies for production and value addition and ownership of the resources
NGARA – good progress on technologies for enhancing production and value addition but focus – enhancing access and rights to resources and hence land restoration.