The argan tree grows in the arid and semi-arid areas of the Moroccan South-West, mainly in the Atlas area. It is a tree with a short and tortuous trunk, with thorny branches and lanceolate leaves. The fruits are similar to yellow walnuts and sometimes reddish and inside are oily almonds, these almonds contain most of the Argan oil.
Traditionally the goats feed on the argan fruit and spit out the bone from which the oil is extracted facilitating the work The Berberes traditionally use all parts of the tree, from the futo to obtain the precious oil as their wood as fuel or to make utensils and furniture. The argan tree is so important in the area where it grows, that UNESCO declared it a biosphere reserve since 1999. The woman in the Berber culture is the basis of the family unit, although patriarchy is the general motto. They have a great oral tradition, always against intolerance and abuse of power and, unlike the Arab woman, they usually participate in meetings and celebrations, even with foreigners. The man, is the one that has the iron control over the members of the family; Women, for their part, control the pillars of morality and the private life of the family. In Morocco, women are considered dependent, without legal identity. Therefore, to constitute a cooperative, formed exclusively by women is a small revolution to be taken into account.
One of these cooperatives is the COOPERATIVE FEMININE TIGUEMINE ARGANE in which women have been working for some years extracting the oil manually from the argan fruit that they then sell is the cooperative itself or upon request by e-mail.
Cooperativist during the oil extraction process These women are the ones who provide the resources for the survival of the family nucleus, in addition to fulfilling the tasks of the house and the education of the sons and daughters. In the cooperative, women collect the fruits, peel and macerate them and produce, with natural methods, argan oil and all kinds of derived products. Thanks to belonging to this cooperative, women can have a salary to meet their daily needs. It takes 100 kg of fruit to produce a single liter of argan oil, which makes it the most expensive oil in the world. In addition, the process is completely manual, so it takes approximately a woman’s work for a week to produce a liter.
Therefore, it is not strange to find prices of 85 euros per liter, it really is a fair price. Below this price we will be acquiring either a lower quality product, mixed with other oils, or underestimating the work of these women. There are many very diverse cooperatives throughout the west of Morocco, from small cooperatives like the Tiguenine cooperative to large cooperatives, with more than 200 workers, but regardless of the size of them, they all have something in common: they are formed by women who are not willing to live on charity, by brave and hardworking women, owners of themselves and their future, and therefore are for us an example to follow, demonstrating how cooperativism is capable of transforming societies and empower people in front of established powers. Cooperativism is solidary, transforming, equitable. Cooperativism is revolution and will allow transforming this unjust, unbalanced and cannibal society into a society where people are above any interest. For this reason, by establishing cooperatives, joining existing ones or buying their products, you are practicing the revolution, you are transforming society. Cooperativize to build a better world!