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Somaliland Frankincense Industry Threatened by High Demand

The sap of the frankincense tree has been a valued commodity for millennia. Egyptian pharaohs traded for the gum, and Christians know frankincense as one of the gifts the three wise men brought to the baby Jesus, according to the New Testament.

But increased demand has threatened the ancient trade as men in Somaliland risk their lives to harvest the resin in ever greater quantities.
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A man holds a chunk of prized maydi, the most expensive frankincense resin, in Mader Moge, Somaliland, Aug. 4, 2016. (J.Patinkin/VOA)
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A man holds a chunk of prized maydi, the most expensive frankincense resin, in Mader Moge, Somaliland, Aug. 4, 2016. (J.Patinkin/VOA)

The Daalo escarpment of the Cal Madow Mountains rises 8,000 feet above the Gulf of Aden, and in its canyons grow the frankincense forests, Aug. 4, 2016. (J.Patinkin/VOA)
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The Daalo escarpment of the Cal Madow Mountains rises 8,000 feet above the Gulf of Aden, and in its canyons grow the frankincense forests, Aug. 4, 2016. (J.Patinkin/VOA)

A frankincense harvester balances in a tree perched on a canyon wall near the village of Gudmo, Somaliland, Aug. 3, 2016. (J.Patinkin/VOA)
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A frankincense harvester balances in a tree perched on a canyon wall near the village of Gudmo, Somaliland, Aug. 3, 2016. (J.Patinkin/VOA)

A frankincense harvester balances in a tree perched on a canyon wall near the village of Gudmo, Somaliland, Aug. 3, 2016. (J.Patinkin/VOA)
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A frankincense harvester balances in a tree perched on a canyon wall near the village of Gudmo, Somaliland, Aug. 3, 2016. (J.Patinkin/VOA)

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