A-Z of farming acacia trees for Gum Arabic

A he goat perches on a sisal plant to reach for leaves of an acacia tree at Banita in Rongai, Nakuru. PHOTO|NATION FILE

What you need to know:

In Kenya, Acacia Senegal variety kerensis is common. It is a small tree, growing to about 2-6m high, occasionally becoming taller under optimal climatic conditions. The plant is usually low branched with a short stem and many upright twigs that form umbrella-shaped crown.

Most of these trees grow naturally in the wild. However, cultivation is possible. In Sudan, the world’s largest exporter of Gum Arabic, cultivation is practised in what is called “gum gardens”. These “gum gardens” are areas where Acacia senegal are cultivated and tended as cash crop trees. More than 50 per cent of Gum Arabic produced in Sudan is obtained from these plantations.

On April 29, I highlighted the many uses of acacia trees, especially for the production of Gum Arabic, a highly sought product for industrial use, including in the making of Coca cola.

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