Ethiopia is one of the counties which are rich in Natural Gums bearing tree species. Natural Gum products are Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFP’s). It is the one of the forest product from the Forestry Sector that country produces and exports to generate foreign currency.
In Ethiopia, Natural Gum Products, particularly Frankincense (Gum Olibanum) and myrrh trade had long history which is comparable to the history of the country. As many books, which are written about the history of Ethiopia, explains that Frankincense (Gum Olibanum) and Myrrh together with Gold and Ivory was traded internationally, though in unorganized way, and used as gift items since the time of the Axumite Kingdom.
During the Colonial era, where Ethiopia was engaged in a series of wars to protect itself from foreign aggression, the trade relation including the trade of Frankincense (Gum Olibanum) and Myrrh was discontinued till the Second World War, when it was resumed again, as per some historical books.
Natural Gum products especially Gum Olibanum Tigray Type production and marketing was started by the Italians after the Second World War is formal business activity. It has been said that, to start this work the Italians brought some experienced producers from its colony Somalia to Eritrea (the former Ethiopian administrative region).
After a while the production and marketing Gum Olibanum was expanded to Tigray region through the establishment of Tigray Agricultural and Industrial Development LTD (TAIDL). TAIDL was nationalized in 1976 by the Provisional Military Government of Ethiopia (the DERGE).
Since then, the organization of natural gum collection and marketing has undergone a number of changes over the past years, immediately after the nationalization of TAIDL. The role of producing and marketing of Natural Gum Products was taken over by what was then known as the State Forest Resource Development Agency that later evolved in to Natural Gum Processing and Marketing Enterprise (NGPME). NGPME was established by proclamation No. 94/1976 as an autonomous enterprise.
After the re-organization of the Ministry of Agriculture in 1987 E.C, the Forst and Wild Life Product Utilization Corporation was established, under the Ministry and the task of NGPME were shifted to this Corporation. Then, the responsibilities of Natural Gum Products collection, processing and marketing ware separately organized under an enterprise, within the corporation in 1990. Finally, since the dissolution of the corporation 1984, NGPME has been performing its activities under, the Ministry of Natural Resource Development and Environmental protection.
Following the beginning of a free market economic policy, NGPME was reorganized in 1994 and once more reestablished as public enterprise by Council of Ministers Regulation No. 179/94 with an authorized capital of birr 5,213,428.34. The responsibilities of the Ministry of Agriculture were shifted to the now name Privatization and Public Enterprise Supervising Agency (PPESA). However, although it is obvious that the enterprise could not produce Natural Gum products without having a forest land, the newly acted regulation didn’t grant the right to own a forest land in a permanent way that the enterprise previously had.
The situation compels the enterprise to seek the forest land in the form of lease from the concerned bureaus of Regional governments’ bureau of agriculture. The licenses are issued for a short-term and on a causal fashion which results in reallocation of production sites every year to another producer. The fact that the licensees were issued for a short term had a drawback on the long term business plan & investment in anticipative of reallocation to another producer in the future.
Currently, NGPME has thirteen main Branch Offices and sub stations, where the production, purchasing, processing and marketing of Natural Gum products is going on in organized way. By doing that the enterprise has opened job opportunities especially for low income peoples, and benefited many along the value chain. The enterprises’ capital now reached Birr 7,079,384.36.
In 2015, the government agricultural sector that recorded better performance and updating of those enterprises to compete with other countries under the government of this organization, including four other organizations ie Ethiopian seeds supply, agricultural equipment & technical service, Agricultural inputs supply and agricultural mechanization service by Council Regulation house No. 368/2008 as Corporation at December 12, 2008, started capital two billion four hundred forty million.
Currently working in regional projects which are not owned by planning to carry out in fiscal year 2009 to carry out research project to ensure the sustainability of the sector and the list is presented as follows
1. Olvera product to the market to do the feasibility study
2. study on Feasibility seed collection and preparation
3. Value-added natural gum product pilots project test Factory
4. Bamboo raw materials resources , the manufacturing workspace status and engaged in a detailed feasibility study on the experience of countries taking production conditions associated with the work of the sector,
5. Training needs assessment and training work with the natural gum production materials preparation,
6. Market assessment study for providing timber forest products
7. Most countries do purchase of natural gum product the world market survey to determine status of the global market,
1. Revenues and Customs Authority
2. Commercial Bank of Ethiopia
4. Ministry of agriculture
5. Ministry of trade
6. Ministry of Foreign Affairs