From fodder to Gum Arabic, there is gold in acacia trees

Goats feed on the leaves of an acacia tree in Nakuru. The versatile tree has many uses in a variety of industries. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • The product is the “desert gold”, the only one of its own kind that is mined from trees. Its demand is constantly rising each day as new uses keep on emerging.
  • Besides the highly valuable Gum Arabic, acacia trees offer animal feeds as its pods and leaves are fodder for camel and goats.
  • The trees, being the main plantation in arid and semi-arid areas, have been found to enhance soil stabilisation and fertility through biological nitrogen fixation, thus contributing to environmental conservation.
  • Kenya is endowed with gum-yielding trees but exports only small amounts of gum. This forms income for most families living in the range lands.

Acacia, that shrub or tree which predominantly grows in arid and semi-arid areas on its own, and is largely found a nuisance by many, is gold.

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