Gum Arabic

Gum Arabic is a perennial tree that is grown in Nigeria and a few African countries. It is cultivated in large commercial quantities in the northern parts of Nigeria. However, when cultivated it takes about 5 years to mature. At maturity, the tree when struck or pierced with sharp metal objects like a knife oozes out whitish sticky sparkling substances. The gum command high commercial value both local and international.

Nigeria produces less than 30 percent as Sudan produces about 70 percent, leaving about 30 percent for Nigeria and other gum Arabic producing countries of Mali, Senegal, Chad, and the Niger Republic.

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Planting season is done early in May in order to ensure adequate development of the seedling before transplanting in July. Gum Arabic is harvested during the dry season because, during the rainy season, no gum is formed since the trees are in full bloom. The dry season lasts from October to June and the gum is collected every 10 days during this period. After collection, the gum is brought from the farms and stands to villages from there it’s transported to the market.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Uses of Gum Arabic

Gum Arabic is used as a thickener, suspender, emulsifier, stabilizer, flavor carrier, binder, and encapsulating material.

In addition, it is used in confectionaries, food, beverages, pharmaceuticals, and chemical industries.

The gum has binding or adhesive properties and as such is used as a good emulsifying agent. It is, therefore, most useful to pharmaceutical, food, and beverage flavorings, dairy and ice cream, cosmetics, and the confectionery industry.

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