31 March 2017
LATITUDES 23° has just added another product to its range: gum arabic, or acacia gum.
This substance is composed of tear-shaped or spherical nodules of hardened exudat produced when the Acacia senegal or Acacia laeta trees are tapped. These trees are found in the Sahel regions of western Senegal and eastern Somalia.
Gum arabic has been known since ancient Egyptian times when it was used to make the ink for hieroglyphs. Nowadays it is used as a food additive (Code E414) in drinks (sodas, beers and wines) and in biscuits. It acts as a thickener, a stabilizer or as an emulsifier. Its binding characteristics are also sought after in other sectors such as pharmaceuticals, paints and glues.
Since the beginning of 2015, LATITUDES 23° has organized a supply of gum arabic from two West African countries for a European company specialized in natural ingredients. Our local suppliers are aided throughout the supply chain from the coordination of the various production sites, going through all the different processes that pass through the picking and sorting to cleaning, initial drying, storage and finally packaging.
Up until now, the sustainable collection of this product has been disorganized in this part of the world but could become a means to overcome poverty in the inhospitable Sahel regions where the acacia grows. By enhancing the technical knowledge of the collectors, significant changes can be made to the supply chain meaning increased revenues for the villagers while providing the international marketplace with this highly sought-after raw material.