The argan tree is thought to have grown in times gone by in all the regions of Maghreb, but is only found now in the Essaouira, Morocco. The tree only covers 860km2 and is disappearing at an estimated rate of 500km2 a year. In spite of the fact that argan oil is a precious resource which is highly sought after, many argan trees have been cut down for firewood or cleared out for agricultural use.

Today, due to the fact that the species is rapidly dying out, the argan tree has been classified in a reserve known as a biosphere. UNESCO raised it in 1999 to the rank of world heritage, necessitating care and attention and its entire protection. UNESCO, along with many international associations and NGOs, have helped to raise local awareness to protect trees.

 

For the Berber women who work in the argan cooperative, there are few means of transport, no running water in their homes and the access to electricity is very expensive. There is a high rate of illiteracy and many of the inhabitants do not speak Arabic. Many parents stop sending their children to school after primary education due to high education fee and long commute to school.

The local population has had the right to collect argan kernels since 1925, and this enables women to earn an income by crushing and pressing the kernels at home. However, they receive a low remuneration from a job which is completely manual and tiring. They do not have well organized networks and are lack of necessary knowledge to argue the sales price of argan oil.

 

The Ajddigue Women's Argan Cooperative was created by Mrs Zoubida Charrouf in 1997 to allow underprivileged women in Tidzi Morocco to free themselves and to get a job while promoting their skills and argan oil. The cooperative allows large number of women to earn a decent living from their work and fair income.

The founder of terre d'Oc met the members for the first time in 2005 and started the coolaboration in the same year. We guarantee a regular level of orders to enable sufficient workload for cooperative members throughout a year. We are trying to promote the by-products of argan oil by purchasing argan pulp to optimize the argan oil production and allow the women to earn more from this raw material. Twice a year, we visit the members in Tidzi to work closer towards their expectations and needs.

   

 

 


 
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