A Tree That Supported Sudan Becomes a War’s Latest Victim

Sudan has long been the world's leading producer of gum arabic, a substance necessary to manufacture such diverse products as shampoo, pills, and soda. The Sudanese terrain and climate produce a "resin that cannot be reproduced" artificially or elsewhere. This specialized locale of one of the modern world's most important products is now becoming a serious trouble spot as the devastating war in Sudan continues to wreck havoc. The gum arabic trade has almost come to a stand-still as villagers struggle to stay out of the way of the violence. Corporations are now paying twice per metric ton as they were a few years ago. Though this has translated into higher wages for the poor workers who gather the resin, few are willing to take the risk. Moreover, the displacement of hundred of thousands has left people desperate for firewood, causing a massive devastation of the gum-producing tree, the Acacia senegal. Unless the political situation improves, corporations will be left struggling to find another source of resin and the poor Sudanese will be left without their main source of subsistence. – YaleGlobal

A Tree That Supported Sudan Becomes a War's Latest Victim

Marc Lacey
Saturday, May 15, 2004

Click here for the original article on The New York Times website.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

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