PUNTLAND land of frankincense & myrrh tree (gum)
Frankincense Myrhh Tree
Land of milk and myrrh
by Mavis Airey
Somalia, on the Horn of Africa, is the ancient land of Punt, mentioned
in the Bible. Legend has it that it was from this land that the Three Wise
Men set out with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh for the infant
(Incense, Frankincense) Resins Musk
Early Arab traders referred to the country as the Land of Milk and Myrrh, from the Somali custom of welcoming strangers with a drink of milk, and burning myrrh, the resin of a thorn tree, to release its perfume.
The people were nomadic animal herders, and the modern name comes from soo mal, the Somali word for milking.
There is another type of crop which can be brought under the head of agriculture, and that is gum. For centuries Puntland (Northeast Somalia) been known as a gum-producing area. The trees which produce the scented gums, frankincense and myrrh grow mostly in the eastern part of the Protectorate, but the Acacia Verek, from which comes the gum Arabic, grows more or less all over the Protectorate. At the present time, it is only the scented gum which is produced and exported to any extent. Both production and marketing are carried out in the most primitive method, with the consequence that the producer gets the minimum of profit for his labor, but with the individualistic Somali co-operative marketing is alien to his mind, and though Puntland Government is working to devise a better method, it will be a matter of great difficulty to get the natives to adopt it. For instance, the method now in vogue in the Sudan for selling gum by auction is as yet quite out of the question in Puntland.
The gum-producing trees grow on the sterile hills near the coast in
the East. In this district there also grows a tree known in Somali as "
damask," a species of willow which is valuable for house- and boat-building
purposes. It grows along the banks of the " tugs " or dry water-courses
which in the rainy season drain the interior. It is mentioned here because
it, with the gum trees and the agricultural development in the West, has
brought to light points of land tenure which have compelled Puntland Government
to formulate a land policy.
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