How to Start Gum Arabic Exportation

The value chain for gum Arabic export starts from the raw material to export, sea freight, import and sales. The end market price is predicated on production levels of major exporter/importers of the product.
The largest producer of gum Arabic is Sudan with millions of dollars in annual sales. In Africa small farmers account for 80% the produce. Things that affect the price of the product are war, civil unrest, famine and government initiatives.
gum arabic
Advantage of Starting a gum Arabic Exportation Business
Gum Arabic is a highly sort after product in European markets. There are very few suppliers and many buyers.
The product has multiple industrial applications and is natural. It requires low skilled labor and low risk of substitution in products. The only disadvantage is that big companies dominate the import end and could influence prices.
Things to Consider Before Exporting Gum Arabic
  • Export procedures
  • Export planning/analysis
  • Sourcing quality product
  • Cost analysis
  • Export prices, specification and destination
  • Trade agreement
  • Company registration
  • Legalities
  • Export financing
Top Suppliers of Gum Arabic
Top suppliers of gum Arabic include Sudan, Senegal, Mali and Nigeria. Other producers are Northern Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia.
Exporting yam from Nigeria
Grade of Gum Arabic Exported
Although there are two major types of gum Arabic harvested we have four grades exported. The four grades exported are mechanical powder or hand picked selected.
The other two grades are kibbled and spray dried powder. Kibbling involves harmer mills breaking down gum lumps into granular form.
The process of breaking down the gum could be applied manually or mechanically. The two types of granules produced vary in size and dimension and are cleaned grade or kibbled.
Spray drying produces highly soluble powder while mechanical powdering is easier than spray drying. Hand picked selected globules are cleaned, graded and sorted and further processed into powder.
What is Gum Arabic?
The hardened sap of different species of acacia tree is gum Arabic. The produce is primarily collected from two trees the Vachellia acacia Seyal and the Acacia Senegal.
The tree could be cultivated however most small farmers harvest directly from wild trees. Gum Arabic is edible and an original source for sugars such as ribose and arabinose.
Made from a complex brew of polysaccharides, glycoprotein it has lots of applications. The dry exudates harvest from the truck or branches of the seyal trees is usually pale white or orange brown.
Applications of Gum Arabic
The product has many manufacturing and product applications. Gum Arabic is found in glue, ink, dyes and the food industry.
It is found in soft drink syrups, pharmaceutical drugs and cosmetics. It produces adhesives used on envelops, postage stamps and is a good emulsifier.
Other important properties are binding agent and diluents. Lithographers use the gum to etch images on plate and some found in chewing gum.
  • Found in ink
  • Glue
  • Soft drinks
  • Syrups
  • Pharmaceutical drugs
  • Postage stamps
  • Cigarette wrappers
  • Chewing gum
  • Envelops
  • Beverages
  • Diary
  • Food manufacturing
  • Flavorings
  • Confectionery
Properties of Gum Arabic
The economic importance of gum Arabic is due to its amazing properties. The product is a good stabilizer, thickener and has adhesive properties.
It is a good binder, high fibre content and emulsifier. The soft drink industry is the major consumer of gum Arabic.
  • High fiber content
  • Binding quality
  • Emulsifier
  • Adhesive properties
  • Good thickener
  • Good stabilizer
Export Markets
Europe is the largest consumer of gum Arabic. Major players are United Kingdom, France and Germany.
The industry that uses the most amount of gum Arabic is the soft drinks industry. The focus on natural ingredients and clean labels drive the product. Another driving force is consumer demand for ethical products
Legal Requirements
The exportation of gum Arabic is subject to strict rules and regulations. Failure to comply will amount to rejected product and huge loss in revenue.
Legalities are geared towards adulterated products, contaminants, hygiene and method of extraction. Other guidelines are aimed at classification, packaging and proper labeling.
You need export documentation, liability insurance and good quality control. You need a food safety certificate and Kosher/Halal certificate.
Before exporting the product send a sample for analysis. Adulterants are a big issue in the gum Arabic business.
Make sure the gum Arabic is 100% natural and meets Europe quality requirements. Labeling is mandatory and should have net weight, batch number, date of manufacture and best before date.
Other requirements are your name/address, product name, recommended storage conditions and grade. Best packaging material is waterproof polythene/lined plastic bags. Some buyers have specific instructions on packaging material.
The exporter need to network with local farmers. You could have a centralized collection point for your produce.
Make sure what you buy is 100% natural and devoid of contaminants. You need to identify and find trade partners to sell the product.
how to start import/export business

image attribution- By Ji-Elle - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,


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