ANALYSIS OF THE SOCIO-ECONOMIC FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH GUM ARABIC COLLECTORS IN NORTHERN GUINEA SAVANNA ZONE OF ADAMAWA STATE, NIGERIA
D.Y. Giroh and C.S. Mesike
Rubber Research Institute of Nigeria, Benin City, and
G.S. Mamman and B.T. Kwaga
Department of Forestry and Wild Life Management, Federal University of Technology, Yola
The study is an analysis of the socio-economic
factors associated with
gum arabic collectors
in Northern Guinea Savanna Zone of Adamawa State,
Nigeria through a questionnaire survey on a sample
of 100 respondents obtained through a multi stage
sampling technique. Data collected were analyzed
using descriptive statistics and production
function analysis. Empirical results of the
analysis revealed that gum collectors were mainly
males, experienced and characterized by large
family sizes and 97% were educated and had one
form of formal education or the other. The
analysis also revealed that gum collection was a
profitable venture as evidenced by total
collection of 48.569 tonnes of gum arabic with
gross revenue of
N2,137,139.39 while gross revenue/ collector was
371.39. Socio economic factors explained about
72.26 % of the variation in quantities of gum
Age, man days of labour and family size are
critical factors in gum arabic collection.
Keywords: Gum collection, guinea savanna, Adamawa, inferential statistics
Forests and woodlands cover about 650 million hectares (or 21.8%) of the total land area of the African continent and about 99% of the forests are natural while only 1% classified as plantations. These forests of provided home to almost 235 million rural in Africa and provided forest-based economic activities, such as making charcoal and selling forest products often contribute to over 25% of rural household income and reduce the impacts of droughts and lean times (FAO, 2000;.FAO, 2003). Natural gums and resins are among dry land resources in Sub-Saharan Africa that contribute to improved livelihoods of local communities in terms of food security, income generation and foreign exchange earnings. These resources also contribute to the amelioration of the environment. (Odo and Ologhe, 1998; Centre for International Forest Research, CIFOR, 2007).Plant gums from trees are of two types: exudates (ooze from the tree/shrub as a result of injury) and seed gums (isolated from the endosperm portion of some seeds). Exudate gums are the main forms produced in Africa. Gum arabic, a dried exudate obtained from the stems and branches of Acacia senegal or A. seyal. The two species are native to the hot and dry regions of Africa (FAO, 1998).
In terms of production, Sudan is the principal producer accounting for over 50% of the world production followed by Chad and Nigeria, which account for the bulk of exported volume. For example, gum arabic accounts for about 10% of the approximately 500,000 MT hydrocolloid trade on the international market. With improved production, post harvest handling and aggressive marketing, the traded volume is bound to increase from the current 55,000 – 60,000 MT to 100, 000 MT by 2010 (Dondain, 2001).
The use of gum arabic has been widely reported in industrial application (food and beverages, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, textiles). The Acacia trees are also Nitrogen - fixing and hence improve soil fertility. Other uses include provision of pods for livestock feed, shelter belt planting to control desertification and provision of timber. It is an important revenue earner for the country and employer of labour for rural people who are engaged in production and gum collection. Chikamai and Odera (2002) reported that g ums provide both social and economic benefits to rural populations at the subsistence level. The social benefits are reflected in the many local uses they offer to the communities: the use of gum arabic as a food by children or herdsmen in the bush; myrrh as ink in some schools or burnt in houses to repel snakes or dangerous insects; chewing of frankincense as a gum and burning as incense among local populations. Gum collection is carried out as parts of livelihood strategies at household level, e.g. to secure provision of food and other essential subsistence goods and social security (Arnold, 1995).
Gum arabic are widely cultivated in the Sudano- Sahelian zone of Nigeria covering about 250,000 sq km in the entire Sahelian region spreading across twelve states namely Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Yobe, Adamawa, Zamfara and Taraba. Akosim etal., (1999) reported that 7 out of the 19 species of gum arabic reported in Nigeria were found in the northern Guinea and Sudan savanna areas of Adamawa State. The rainfall regime of these zones ranged from 900 – 1100 mm and 700 – 900 mm per annum with rainfall duration of 4- 5 and 3- 4months respectively. Gum arabic production in Nigeria has been low arising from lack of capital to boost production, use of improved planting materials amongst other factors. To harness the current potentials for gum arabic production and export, its production must be improved. Production must shift from the traditional form to the use of cultivation in organized plantation with intercrop based combination for maximum economic benefit. Considering the importance of gum arabic collection, the study was aimed at describing the socio economic characteristics of the collectors; estimate the total quantities of gum collected and revenue and to evaluate the relationship between gum collectors’ specific characteristics and quantities of gum arabic collection.
The study area and data collection
The study was conducted in the Northern Guinea Savanna Zone of Adamawa State purposively selected. It is one of the concentration of Acacia species with large collectors of the gum arabic. Data were collected using multi stage and random sampling technique. Three Local Government Areas noted for gum arabic collectors in the State namely Demsa, Numan and Lamurde were selected for the study. Two villages were selected from each of the Local Government Areas. From the selected villages, 20 gum arabic collectors were randomly selected giving a sample of 120 respondents and administered structured questionnaire to elicit relevant information for the study.
Descriptive statistics and production function analysis were employed in the analysis of data collected. Descriptive statistics such as frequency, percentage and means were used analyzed the socioeconomic variables on total quantities of gum collected.
The production function postulated for gum arabic collectors in the study area is implicitly presented by equation 1:
Y= f (X1, X2, X3, X4, μ1) (1)
Where: Yi = Quantity of gum collected by the ith collector (number), X1 = Age ( years), X2 = experience in the collection of gum (years), X3 = Labour ( man days) , X4 = family size ( total number of people in household) and μ1 = the error term (assumed to have zero mean and constant variance).
Four functional forms (Linear, Semi-log, Exponential and Cobb-Douglas) were tried using ordinary least square technique (OLS). The estimated functions were evaluated in terms of the statistical significance of R2 as indicated by F-value, the significance of the coefficients as given by the t-values, the signs of the coefficient and the magnitude of standard errors. Based on these statistical, economic and econometric criteria, the Linear functional form was selected as the lead equation which is explicitly represented by equation:
Y = β0 + β1 X1+ β2 X2 + β3 X3 + β4 X4 (2)
Where: β0 = A constant, β1, β2 …. Β4 are regression coefficients to be estimated while other variables are as previously defined.
Results and discussion
Socio economic characteristics of Gum Arabic collectors
Gum arabic collection was dominated by males, married people and educated collectors. Collectors were also in their economically active years and are characterized by large family sizes and are experienced in gum collection (Table 1). The study revealed that gum collection was a male dominated activity. This indicated that women participation might be constrained by socio- cultural factors and the fact that gum collection is in the wild and scattered and far apart. Large family sizes of the respondents put pressure on family heads in the search of means of income to meet family needs. Large family size is a reservoir for farm labour and for collection activities especially at other agricultural lean periods (off season). Gum collection characterized by the preponderance of the educated and young people suggests that majority are school leavers without jobs and the collection of gum requires active and young people to cope up with the nature of the wild plantations in the study area.
Estimated quantities of gum arabic collected, average revenue and cost of collection
Table 2 is the analysis of gum collection, cost and income (revenue) that accrued from gum collection. Total quantities of gum collection are proportionate to revenue generated. This implies that the more the quantities collected, the more revenue is expected. The result also shows that gum collection is a profitable venture that enhances income generation of respondents. The increase in income may lead to propensity to save, consume and expand their scope of production and adoption of farm innovations. This study is in conformity with earlier studies conducted which revealed that non woody forest products (NWFPs) contributed to the economic development of some local communities and national economies (FAO, 2003,Giroh etal., 2005; Umar etal., 2007; Wuranti etal., 2007; Giroh etal., 2008).
Table 1: Distribution based on demographic characteristics
Less than 30
31 – 40
41 – 50
51 and above
6 – 10
6 – 10
Source: Field survey, 2009
Grades 2 and 3 of gum arabic were collected in the study area despite potentials for the cultivation of grade 1 (A. senegal). In the mid 1990s, Nigeria was the second largest producer and exporter of gum arabic after Sudan. However, in spite of the fact that the country has the best type of gum arabic (from A. senegal var. Senegal, like the Sudan), the quality of the commodity entering the international market was poor to the extent that reputable importers avoided buying from the country. Studies have shown that production was highly fragmented, with a plethora of producers and traders all competing to do business and no coordinating body to ensure consistency of production methodologies or product quality. Quality was variable with consignments always being mixed. There was no extension advice to collectors and, although the Nigerian Gum Arabic Association existed, it didn’t go beyond that of simply acting as a forum for discussion and airing of grievances. This happened against a backdrop of unreliable supply, high (though unstable) prices and variable quality of gum arabic entering the international market. This was hurting the gum arabic trade giving leverage to competitors, mostly of synthetic substitutes. The FAO mission strongly recommended improved production and quality control.
Table 3: Distribution based on cost and average revenue per collector
Source: Data analysis 2009.
*Figures in parentheses are percentages.
Relationship between socio-economic factors and gum collection
Result of linear regression which formed the lead equation is presented in Table 4. About 72.26 % of the variation in quantities of gum collected is explained by the socio economic variables included in the model as indicated by the adjusted R2 . All the variables except X1 (age) have positive coefficients.
The negative sign of age was significant but have an inverse relationship with gum collection and is consistent with apriori. At old age, collection of gum declines but increases among young people. The majority of the plantations are natural (wild) and far apart requiring young and active population to harness forest-based economic activities, such as gum collection and so on. Labour measured in man days was significant, implying that the more the man days, the more quantities of gum collected, the more the revenue. Family size was also significant (p>0.05). Household heads with large family sizes provided labour sources for production while putting more pressures on such family heads in devising means of income to meet their family needs.
Table 4: Production function analysis of the relationship between socio-economic factors and gum collection
X1 = Age
X2 = Experience
X3 = Labour
X4 = Family size
Adjusted R2 = 0.7226
F = 6.387***
Source: Data Analysis 2009.
Ns = Not significant, **, *** indicate significance at 5& 1 percent.
The study revealed that gum arabic collectors are in their economically active age. Gum collection enhances income of the respondents and was a profitable venture. Age, family size and man days of labour are determinants of gum arabic collections.
Based on the findings of this study, there is the need for organized production of Gum arabic as the study area has the potentials. Research and extension activities should be strengthened by Adamawa State Government and Gum arabic research programme of the Rubber Research Institute of Nigeria.
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