Eighty participants, drawn from five sub-counties in Turkana County, will be attending a four-day workshop to be trained as Trainers of Trainers (ToTs) on gum arabic quality assurance and market value chain.
The participants will be expected to reach out and train 3000 collectors in this nature-based economic activity to improve the product for the market.
The training organized by Kenya Forestry Research Institute (Kefri), while working closely with the county Department of Natural Resources, comes after GIZ signed a partnership agreement with Acacia EPZ Ltd, a private export company dealing in gum Arabic for the European market.
This unique tree sap, locally known as “eminae”, is used as an additive in food and non-food items; from chewing gum to paint.
The German non-profit has also funded the training and will be conducted in three ASAL counties; Turkana, Marsabit and Samburu. The training is meant to increase employment and economic opportunities through nature-based enterprises like the collection of gum arabic and resin.
“Turkana has the best gum arabic and resin, however we have to be consistent in collecting for the market to buy the product,” said Pauline Lokuruka, Chief Officer of County Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Natural Resources, while opening the workshop.
She challenged the participants to ensure that when they went back to their stations they transfer the skills learnt in the workshop to the other staff.
She also requested Kefri and Kenya Forest Service to follow-up and monitor the participants in their respective fields.
“We have officers in the field to assist in enhancing the collection of this important natural resources,” said the Chief Officer.
The Acting Deputy Director of Natural Resources, Pauline Ngoli Pusiye, said that the training has been a long time coming as it will be beneficial to the county residents.
According to Patrick Mwenja – the KEFRI Ag. Assistant Regional Director, they will also assist the communities to form a co-operative to aid in marketing.