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Sudan’s Gum Arabic exports drop significantly: MP


September 11, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The head of Sudan’s parliamentary subcommittee on industry and commerce Abdalla Ali Masar has disclosed significant decline in the exports of the Gum Arabic.

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Sudanese workers collect pieces of gum arabic at a factory in Khartoum (Photo AFP)

Gum arabic is a resin that is used as an emulsifier in sodas, a thickener in candies, a binder in some inks and drugs, and as even a foam stabilizer in beer.

Last June, the secretary-general of the Gum Arabic Council (GAC) Abdel-Magid Abdel-Gader, said revenues from exports of the gum Arabic in the first half of this year amounted to $45 million.

However, Masar pointed out that the gum Arabic exports have declined from 100,000 to 12,000 tonnes during the past years.

Speaking at a forum held at the National Assembly Monday, Masar described the drop in the gum Arabic exports as “dangerous matter”.

He accused the merchants and brokers of inflicting great harm on the producers, saying they purchase the gum Arabic from the actual producers at the very cheap price while selling the product at a much higher rate in international markets.

Masar called on the government to establish a central market for the gum as well as establishing a commodity exchange market to determine the price in comparison to international prices.

He revealed that 6 million people are currently working in the gum Arabic sector including 1,5 million women, saying the government must provide them with services to increase production.

Masar added the country has the potential to produce 500,000 tonnes annually.
For his part, the Minister of Commerce Hatim al-Sir Ali said the government plans to increase gum Arabic production as well as expanding its domestic use.

He pledged to take administrative and security measures to curb activities of the “gum Arabic smuggling mafia”, saying the government will “cut off the hands of smugglers”.

According to government data, more than 45,000 tonnes of gum Arabic have smuggled to neighbouring countries annually.

The Parliament speaker Ibrahim Ahmed Omer, for his part, accused unknown foreign parties of smuggling the raw gum Arabic for manufacturing purposes, saying they gain billions of U.S. dollars.

Also, the Minister of Industry, Musa Karama, has criticized the finance policy of the Central Bank of Sudan (CBoS) for the traditional agricultural sector, describing it as “primitive”.

Sudan is the world’s largest single producer of gum Arabic. It produces at least 80 percent of the world’s gum Arabic supply.

Consumers of the product include the United States, which imports about one fourth of the Sudanese output under a rare exemption of otherwise fairly strict US economic sanctions.

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