NTV-NEWS-UPDATE-GIF-HD

Sudan war hits crucial gum arabic business

Sudan’s war has left farmers of gum arabic, a vital ingredient for global industry including fizzy drinks, bereft of local buyers but a trade group assures global stocks are — for now — sufficient.

The golden blobs of resin tapped from thorny acacia trees are an emulsifying agent used in everything from soft drinks to chewing gum and pharmaceuticals.

Sudan is the world’s largest producer of the raw gum which is a major source of foreign currency for the northeast African nation.

The sector has survived repeated conflicts, a warming climate and decades of sanctions.

But now, since war between two generals began on April 15, “producers are grappling with disaster,” Adam Issa Mohammed, a gum arabic trader, told AFP in El Obeid, the North Kordofan state capital 350 kilometres (220 miles) southwest of Khartoum.

The city is one of the main local markets for Sudanese gum arabic growers.

Other farming sectors are also coping with a wartime lack of buyers as fuel shortages hinder transport to market, and prices soar.

However, given its importance to Sudan’s economy, and the five million Sudanese which the industry supported, the war’s impact on gum arabic is particularly significant.

 

– ‘No one is buying’ –

 

Battles between army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his deputy-turned-rival General Mohamed Hamdan Daglo have killed around 1,000 people, uprooted more than a million from their homes, and further devastated an already-crippled economy.

The bulk of the conflict has been in the capital Khartoum, parts of which have been reduced to smouldering rubble, as well as the western region of Darfur.

Witnesses have also reported fighting in El Obeid.

Further east, closer to the Ethiopian border, the Gedaref area and its acacia trees have been spared the fighting but gum arabic farmers are still affected.

“We have large quantities we need to sell, but no one is buying because exporters and distributors can’t find any transport companies willing to risk their trucks,” according to the trader, Adam Issa Mohammed.

A gum arabic producer, Ahmed Mohammed Hussein, said the absence of buyers has led to a price collapse of around 60 percent.

“The price of a tonne has gone down from 320,000 Sudanese pounds to 119,000 ($627 to $233),” Hussein told AFP.

The risk is clear: everything including customs and cargo processing has to go through the war zone of Khartoum.

Truckers who venture onto the road not only risk their lives but spend much of their time scrambling for petrol. Even if they find it, the price per litre is now 20 times what it was before the war.

At the ports, however, it is business as usual, according to Sudan’s port authority, which told AFP “imports and exports are operating normally.”

But Othman Abdelsalam, an employee of a shipping company in Sudan who has viewed the data, said numbers are down.

He told AFP “exports from Darfur and Kordofan via Khartoum — particularly gum arabic -– have suffered a strong impact” since the war started.

Sudan’s gum arabic belt extends from Gedaref, through Kordofan, across the country to Darfur in the west.

According to the Hamburg-based Association for International Promotion of Gums, which brings together importers, processors and producers, there is no current supply threat to industry users of gum arabic.

“Member companies keep sufficient stocks of gum arabic imported from Sudan and other countries in their warehouses, so that possible interruptions in supply… can be absorbed,” it said in a statement.

The group added that Chad and Nigeria are among alternate producers, so “immediate supply bottlenecks are not to be expected because of the current events in Sudan.”

Industry players within Sudan or elsewhere could not, however, say how long global stocks can last.

 

– Global importance –

 

Sudanese exports accounted for 70 percent of global raw gum supplies, according to pre-war data from AFD, the French agency for development.

Gum arabic exports from Sudan totalled 88,000 tonnes in 2021, earning $110 million, according to central bank figures, the latest official data available.

Mostafa al-Sayyed Khalil, who heads the Gum Arabic Council of Sudan, said his figures show export of 60,000 tonnes in 2022, which he considers an underestimate.

Khalil was not able to project the war’s impact.

Even before the conflict, low prices in local markets pushed many farmers to cut down their trees for building materials or firewood. Others left their lands entirely to work in nearby gold mines.

Aly Verjee, a researcher at Sweden’s University of Gothenburg, said fighting across Sudan has affected other sectors, leading to the country’s “partial deindustrialisation” and a much poorer future.

That leaves gum arabic increasingly crucial.

“If we lose the gum Arabic belt, we’ll drown,” Khalil warned.

AM Live

AM Live is NTV's morning current affairs show that sets the agenda for the day with insightful panels every weekday.

BNX

Business Redefined

Business Redefined is Kenya’s premier thought leadership platform for unpacking matters regarding economic and finance policy as well demystifying complex developments in the region’s capital markets.

Entertainment

A collection of our premium content. Diam curabitur vehicula A collection of our premium content. Diam curabitur vehicula

Full Episodes

A collection of our premium content. Diam curabitur vehicula A collection of our premium content. Diam curabitur vehicula

Gumzo La Sato

Gumzo La Sato is a live social issues show that aims to create awareness about issues affecting the larger society. The discussions range from Parenting, Marital bliss and struggles, Oppression, violence, and all matters of the Heart.

Health Diary

Health Diary is a weekly show that highlights different types of diseases/conditions and seeks ways to prevent, treat/manage them. The show debunks this through real life stories and also feature specialists in different fields, to offer medical advice on the same.

Letter To My Younger Self

Letter To My Younger Self is a podcast where guests get to write a letter to their younger self, from which Maxine formulates questions to ask them during the hour-long show.

Mazao Talks

Mazao looks at agriculture and agribusiness

Nation Reports

Nation Reports is a weekly podcast offers an opportunity for listeners to interact with various reporters and journey with them as they unravel the biggest most emotive stories.

One Health Lens Podcast

Discussing health matters and human stories from Kenya and across Africa. We talk big picture from people to policy, ecosystems, and everything in between. Follow us on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/onehealthlens

Paradise Lost

Paradise Lost peeks through the story of Louis Otieno, the times, and everything in between.

Podcasts

Podcasts

Speaking of GEN Z

Speaking of Gen Z brings you entertaining but meaningful conversations about a generation that is trying to navigate through adulthood. Join hosts Michelle, Jackie and Esther as they unravel all things Gen Z.

Sport On

Sport-On is a 30-minute sports magazine show on NTV and 3 hours on NATION FM. The show seeks to give the sports “fanatics” and “funatics” comprehensive and in-depth coverage of sports both locally and internationally.

Tech-over

The extent of technological growth is beyond mere acknowledgment; it has seamlessly integrated into our daily existence. A few years ago, the notion of paying electricity bills through mobile money or recharging with 'tokens' in Kenya seemed inconceivable. Online product sales were considered distant, and artificial intelligence is rapidly reshaping various facets of our lives. Amidst these technological leaps, those with a solid understanding of tech can navigate challenges, seize opportunities, and build a sustainable livelihood. Tech over Show aims to be the platform facilitating discussions among thought leaders, innovators, tech companies, and the government, addressing challenges and opportunities in Kenya's thriving tech industry.

Thamani

Thamani is a business show which is dedicated to emerging issues regarding micro, small and medium size businesses.

The Politalk podcast

This is The Politalk podcast. Here we look into the ins and outs of everything Kenyan politics. We pull no punches and have no reason to sugarcoat anything that matters to Kenyans.

The Trend

A two-hour-long live show that airs on Fridays. The show focuses on what is current in the entertainment industry, controversial and popular across all media platforms targeting those aged between 25 and 35 years.

The trend podcast

The trend podcast highlights and captures the best of banter from #TTTT segment that airs every Friday on NTV. It's the TTTT EXTRA

The Wicked Edition

The Wicked Edition with Dr. King’ori seeks to address serious issues through humour and relatable wit. It is a two-part half hour show filmed in front of a live audience

Trending

A collection of our premium content. Diam curabitur vehicula A collection of our premium content. Diam curabitur vehicula

Twende

Twende is a travel show that highlights beautiful, unique, diverse locations, people, and cultures. The show offers fresh perspectives on familiar locations and memorable experiences in new ones.

Unscripted

This Saturday evening lifestyle show lets viewers share their stories and life experiences as openly & honestly for the purpose of shifting the culture of silence.

VIP Access

VIP ACCESS is Anyiko Owoko’s YouTube and podcast show on Music and Culture dedicated to promoting Africa’s most promising talent and creatives. This podcast grants you VIP access into timeless interviews while providing a platform for rising as well as established artists across the continent. Since launching in 2018, Anyiko has interviewed over 70 African music stars.

WADR

This weekly news show aims to have all sides of debate but not be constrained by it, listen to main voices in the contest but not allow them to hold the viewers hostage, entertain debate but allow push back with all due respect.

When death do us part

In this podcast, three widowers openly speak about the process of grief, how they found themselves exposed to the emotional turmoil of losing their wives, and how society still does not know how to deal with them.

Your World

Your World is a health, wellness and variety show. It provides a platform for audiences and experts to share their experiences on how to improve or manage health issues, across Kenya and the Africa region.