Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has proposed establishment of additional Gum Arabic processing centres.

The Director of Agriculture, Hajiya Karima Babangida disclosed this during a capacity building on Good Agricultural Practices for gum Arabic farmers at Manpower Development Institute in Dutse.

She explained that the centres would be establish in Kano and Borno states this year, adding that the gesture was part of the ministry’s efforts to improve production of the commodity.

Hajiya Karima Babangida said the ministry had earlier refurbished the Gum Arabic testing laboratory at the Rubber Research Institute of Nigeria, for quality assurance and also had a cottage processing center in Damaturu, Yobe, while pledged to continue building the capacities of Gum Arabic farmers as well as support research and development.

According to her, in recent years, various efforts to provide Gum Arabic farmers with improved seedlings, fertilizer, herbicide, tapping knives, storage bags, hammer mill with cyclone, prushers, colour sorting machine and digital moisture metres, with a view to improve its productivity.

She narrated that Gum Arabic, was one of the Agricultural Commodity Value Chain being promoted by the ministry in 15 states of northern and central part of the country, where the agro-ecological factors were suitable for its production.

The Director said the crop provides opportunities for trade, employment and improvement in the livelihoods of rural people, particularly women and youth, involved in gum collection and other value chain activities.

Earlier, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mr Ernest Umakhihe, said the workshop was organised by the Gum Arabic Value Chain of the ministry to build the technical know-how of farmers on current techniques for optimum yield and maximum income.

Represented by the Deputy Director Tree crops, Mr Ukattah Bernard, pointed out that the global demand for Gum Arabic was valued at $373.1 million in 2018, and estimated to expand at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 5.9%.

He urged the trainess to take advantage of this opportunity to develop not only themselves, but also assist in developing other farmers and private operators in the country.

Also speaking, the Assistant Director from the Federal Ministry of Industries, Trade and Investment, Mr Dipo Agegoke who sought for farmers cooperation explained that the ministry had been working assiduously towards achieving its target through regular sensitization workshops.

USMAN MZ, JIGAWA