Puntland (Northern Somalia)
Frankincense is a gum resin derived from a shrub of the genus Boswellia, belonging to the family Burseraceae. Boswellia Carterii trees are mostly located in the foothills near the Red Sea banks in Somalia's Bari region. Boswellia carterii is also mainly found at an altitude of 1,000 meters in northern Somalia's sub-desert limestone areas. The resin from each of these Boswellia trees is available in various grades, depending on the harvest time. In this case, the resin comes from Boswellia carterii, and is hand-sorted for quality.
The English word, Frankincense comes from the old French expression, 'franc encens' which means 'high-quality incense'. And this is indeed one of the reasons to consider purchasing this product. It has long been burned as incense. It has been traded in its native range for more than 6,000 years and was introduced to Europe by Frankish Crusaders. Typically, the dried resin is used as incense or in perfumery.
Today, most frankincense is harvested in Somalia and India, though it also comes from other regions, such as Oman, Yemen, and western Africa. For our products, we exclusively use premium resin from Puntland in the northeast of Somalia. The "Holy Land of Punt", as the Ancient Egyptians at the time of the Pharaohs used to call it, is situated at the Gulf of Aden, characterized by a desert climate with lots of sunshine.
Our local partners collect the frankincense resin in an ecologically way, sustainably harvesting the crop. When the trunk of the Boswellia Carterii tree is slashed or wounded, a white resin oozes from the cut to heal the wound. A number of incisions are made into the bark, and the gum resins are allowed to ooze out and solidify for a few weeks. The harvesters then return to each tree to collect the resin. The harvest of gums and resins takes place during the dry season, as they are easily damaged by rain.
The resins are then transported to local villages where they are further dried in the shade. The lumps of dried resin are sorted and graded by local women. Resin trade employs more women than any other formal industry in the region. By purchasing this product, you are helping to boost the resilience of the local economy and empower local women.
By choosing this product, you can also help preserve the natural ecosystems upon which these communities depend. Climatic disruption and increasingly unpredictable rains have ravaged Somalia. The Boswellia carteri tree is one of the species endangered by land degradation and global warming. Sustainable land management and sustainable communities who work with nature are essential to save this species, which could be gone in 50 years without environmental intervention.
NOTE: We can also supply raw materials to the wholesale trade.