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Farmers urge Yobe Govt. to exploit gum Arabic

02 October 2013, 19:11

Damaturu - The Gum Arabic Farmers Association on Wednesday urged the Yobe Government to exploit the resource to boost the economy of the state.

Alhaji Jafaru Ayuba, spokesman of the association made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Damaturu.

He said that the state could generate more than N2 billion in foreign exchange annually if it properly harness and exploit the gum Arabic resource.

Ayuba said: "Yobe has the most suitable climatic condition and land for large scale cultivation of gum Arabic to feed local industries and for export to earn foreign exchange."

He however lamented that in spite of its potentials to turn around the economy of the state and people, gum Arabic cultivation has not received the desired attention.

"Gum Arabic cultivation has double advantage of improving the economy and fighting desertification," he added.

The spokesman regretted that more than N700 million worth of gum Arabic trees were indiscriminately cut down for firewood.

"It is sad that wood poachers from within and outside the state spray chemicals on these trees to make them dry up quickly so as to cut them down for firewood," he said.

Ayuba said that the activities of firewood poachers had forced about 20,000 gum Arabic farmers and marketers out of job.

"We appeal to Yobe State Government to liaise with the association to import improved variety of seedlings from Sudan as we have similar climatic conditions, to reinvigorate the sector," he urged.

The association also called for "strict enforcement of the state environmental laws to protect the environment, ecosystem and wild life from destruction."

NAN reports that gum Arabic is used as a raw material by pharmaceutical firms and glass manufacturers, among others.



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