Visit of an Argan Cooperative

. May 30, 2009

I was very fortunate to have the oppurtunity, during my stay in Morocco, to visit privately the Argan Cooperative Kaouki thanks to an acquaitance . The cooperative is located near the Dar El Baz Museum in Sidi Kaouki on the road towards Agadir. An about 20 minute drive from Essaouira.

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The argan tree is native to southwestern Morocco. This hardy and resistant tree can survive more than 100 years in very poor soil under drought conditions, requiring no cultivation.
Since 1998 argan forest is listed as part of of the world's biosphere by UNESCO. It comprises an area of about 800 000 ha.
Unique in the world. It only grows in the South region from Safi to the city of Taroudant. Although the argan is Morocco’s second most common tree species, in less than a century over a third of the argan forest has disappeared and is now in danger of extinction.


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Berber women, a workforce of 2500, harvest and make the oil mostly by traditional methods, a labor intensive process even though an electric press and filtering machine is used. These cooperatives improve women's social and economic condition.
One liter of extracted oil requires 40 kg of fruit and 12 hours of work.


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The production process:
Each nut then must be cracked open to remove the kernels, done by hand with stones. The kernels then are manually sorted from the nutshells.

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Grounding in hand-mills

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Nutshells are used for heating fuel, feed for livestock

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Next they are put through an electrical press for grinding and extraction, and then filtered. It’s a cold first pressed oil yielding a high nutritive quality.


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Mainly known for it's oil, argan has been processed for centuries for food, folk medecine, and cosmetics.
The purchase of these products contributes to literacy programs and to the protection of a forest, which the local inhabitants depend upon. Most of all, it contributes to the livelihoods of many women and their families.
Tourism is being developped in the area.They are building an argan oil spa hotel in Sidi Kaoki with a gastronomic restaurant and cooking classes.

3 comments:

shizuokagourmet said...

Ma chere Myrtille!
Bonjour!
Very, very useful posting on one of the best oils in the world!
I use it here in Japan on salads and even fish here in Japan!
Great pics and precise explanations!
By the way, it might be a good idea to correct "Arga" to "Argan" in the title!
looking forward to reading more!
Cheers,
Bien amicalement,
Robert-Gilles

HoneyB said...

I love the last photo of all the bottles of oil, very eye catching!

s. stockwell said...

What a fascinating post!! We love it. A very precious product and the trees are magnificent with the burley trunk? Thank you for this. Best, s

the music is great too...

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