BUSINESS INITIATIVE WITH SOCIAL IMPACT
Acacia EPZ limited . is our local partner in this project. It is the company in charge of supplying all the necessary equipment and infrastructure. In the same way, he will act as permanent consultant of the project, carrying out the training of the working personnel in the project.
This company has a rich organizational culture based on its core values of respect for people and belief in empowerment. Its philosophy of creating comprehensive value is underpinned by sound corporate governance policies and systems.
Since 2015, Acacia EPZ Limited has exported more than 300 metric tons of food grade gum arabic to the Eurozone. The company's main business is based on a solid commercial relationship with the European Union, this being the main market for the company's exports.
Aztivate is the organization behind the project who will manage the good development of the project together with the local community.
Local communities. Local communities will be the main beneficiaries of the project results. On the one hand they will have the preferential right to access the jobs generated in the development of the project and on the other they will acquire all the necessary knowledge of a lucrative economic activity that in the future they can independently develop, which constitutes a great opportunity to search a new way of life that guarantees their survival.
The gum arabica harvest is 100% natural
From January to April and from May to October, depending on weather conditions, the harvest is done in several steps:
An incision is first made in the tree, which is called tapping. This operation does not harm the tree and will induce a complex process on it, so that the acacia tree will exude rubber to cover the incision. The gum is exuded through the incision and begins to dry when it comes in contact with air and sunlight. It progressively becomes a nodule.
Several weeks after the tapping, the gatherers return and cut the gum nodule from the tree with a razor blade. The nodules are grouped, dried, sorted, and stored, before being shipped to Acacia EPZ Primary Value Addition Centers for processing prior to post-transportation to company headquarters within Nairobi's export processing zones.
Collection techniques come from traditional practices that collectors in drylands have been developing for decades. There are no chemicals involved in the harvesting process, which is carried out entirely by hand and / or harvesting tools.
The final product
Through our agreement with Acacia EPZ Limited, it provides international food and beverage companies in Europe with a variety of gum arabic that is only available in Kenya, parts of Ethiopia and Somalia. This variety has a high viscosity, making it especially suitable for application in food and beverages.
Partnering with the Kenya Forest Service and the Kenya Forest Research Institute gives Acacia EPZ limited unique access to chemical analysis, quality assurance, and access to community land for supply. This provides European customers with peace of mind regarding supply stability, traceability and product quality.
Grassroots situation in Turkana
This desert region is inhabited by 1,300,000 people mainly from the Turkana ethnic group. A population whose economy is based mainly on family farming (goats, donkeys and camels) and in which any other form of economic activity is non-existent. The vulnerability of this population is determined by the spectacular effect that climate change has produced in the region (between 2-3º increase in average temperature since 1950) and the poor capacity of the population to overcome these changes due to the practically nonexistent physical infrastructures (roads, water supply infrastructure, electricity, etc.), as well as services (health, education, food security, etc.).
Motivation of the project and beneficiaries
Observing the high unemployment rates in the region outside the livestock-based family economy systems, we think of the collection of gum arabic as a sustainable alternative to guarantee decent employment to the population.
The project especially helps vulnerable households, such as women and young people, by creating sustainable employment opportunities, allowing the population their human development with dignity and abandoning the humanitarian aid model.
In Kenya, arid and semi-arid lands (ASAL) occupy 89% of the country and are home to around 36% of the population.
These lands represent a very important socio-economic region, but due to lack of awareness, inadequate production capacity, and weak market links, many of the region's valuable resources are not used efficiently. As a result, the employment potential and socio-economic development opportunities are far from being fully utilized.
Properly exploiting the resources available in these areas will support the livelihoods of more than two million people through employment and income generation.
One of the main untapped commodities is gum arabic, which is used in various industries, including pharmaceuticals, food, soft drinks, and textiles. Average annual production of gum arabic in these areas of Kenya is very small relative to resource potential, mainly due to the lack of reliable suppliers and the inability to mass produce.
PURPOSE OF THE PROJECT
The main objective of this project is to increase employment and economic opportunities for communities in northern Turkana Kenya by unlocking their production potential of gum arabic.
The project addresses interrelated problems, mainly disorganized and inefficient arabica gum supply chain, lack of quality control and standardization, and potential for underutilized development and trade.
The successful implementation of this project will help fill some of these gaps and provide much-needed solutions by helping to unlock the enormous potential for social and economic growth in the target region and contributing to the conservation of the environment.
The project will especially assist vulnerable households, women and youth through the creation of sustainable employment opportunities.
Project activities include the development of training materials for local training institutions that provide training in technical agricultural skills, such as sustainable extraction methods and management of the natural tree resource.
In addition to expert gatherers, the project develops and implements measures to make gum arabic supply chains more organized, efficient and transparent.
The storage and processing plant is located in Lokitaung Town at the organization's facilities in the area. The objective of the location in the town of Lokitaung next to the main road, which connects it to the main city of the region (Lodwar), is on the one hand to facilitate the transport of the product to its final destination in Nairobi and on the other to act as a center logistics for the entire region of North Turkana.