Gum Arabic trees in Sudan are part of a 4,000-year-old tradition of producing gum in an immense dryland region. Working with IUCN’s Forest Programme in the region, Edmund Barrow explains that we all eat the gum produced in Sudan in chewing gum, in medicines such as aspirin and even as a clearing agent in beer.
Sudan is the largest producer in the world. But in the last 20 years synthetic competitors have entered the market. Part of IUCN’s work is to help the Sudanese government reposition the Gum Arabic trade to better compete with these synthetics and get a better deal for farmers. Edmund Barrow tells us more.