Market Chain Analysis of Gum Arabic Trade in Kenya

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C. Wekesa, A. M. Luvanda, M. O. Muga, B. N. Chikamai and P. M. Makenzi

                               Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI),  Nairobi
Quality, quantity, availability and economics are the key factors that affect the marketing of any product, irrespective of whether it is for domestic, national or international market. The consumer requires the product to be available in time, be of desired quality and quantity. The market of gum arabic is a good example of how the interplay of quality, quantity, availability and economics affect a product market. In Kenya, trade in gum arabic has remained informal due to inadequate marketing arrangements attributed to limited participation of gum arabic collectors in the development of the sector and a non-conducive business environment, which does not favor private sector expansion. This paper looked at the market chains of gum arabic, the stakeholders participating in the management and marketing of A. senegal products and the constraints to gum arabic production and collection within the Kenyan drylands. The results confirmed that the market chain of gum arabic was and is still poorly organized with only one company and a few individual traders being the major buyers. Wildlife related factors and price were the key constraints to gum arabic collection while production was limited by unreliable rainfall due prolonged droughts. Quality of the gum and road network determined the price with different grades attracting different rates per kilogram in different areas. SALTLICK and AWF were the chief stakeholders involved in A. senegal tree resources management. The study has shown that there is willingness of the locals to engage in full time gum collection if ready market can be availed to them. Nevertheless, numerous constraints need to be addressed to make gum arabic collection an attractive venture to the local communities’ key among them being the purchase price.
 

Key words: Acacia senegal,Constraints, Gum arabic, Market chain, Stakeholders

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