Supporting Moroccan Women
Preserving Traditional Culture
The popularity of Argan has grown beyond the borders of Morocco into the kitchens and beauty products of Europe, America, Canada and beyond. The wonders of the Liquid Gold from Morocco speak for itself. Due to its rising popularity, the demand for Argan has increased into a viable economy for the local village people of the Moroccan southwest.
For Centuries, Argan Oil has been made only by Berber women. Today the Argan Oil production is done primarily in numerous Women’s Co-Operatives in the southwest region of Morocco. The Co-Operatives employ women that may be widowed or divorced and still have family responsibilities. The Co-Operatives offer the women fair wage and hours that are suitable to meeting the needs of their family and children. Many of the Co-Operatives offer educational and childcare benefits. Some offer them a place to live. The women enjoy the work with each other laughing and telling stories as they carry on with the difficult labor.
Visiting an Argan Co-Operative is a must do on any visit to Morocco.
The Moroccan Elixir buys its Argan Oil from The Marjana Co-Operative Project near Essaouira. It is a Co-Operative that owned by more than 80 women. The Marjana Co-Operative employs only the Traditional Methods of Argan oil and uses no machinery. The Co-Operative is in the middle of a forest of Argan and Thuja trees. If you visit Morocco, you may stop at the Co-Operative on the road between Marrakesh and Essaouira. Here you will get a glimpse into the traditional life of Berber women. The women are joyful and determined to present quality products for the opportunities they have been given.
ARGAN OIL CO-OPERATIVES
- Started in the 1990’s as a way to preserve the tradition, culture and sustainability of the industry
- Fair trade industry in which the producers get a fair financial benefit and are able to preserve the culture, tradition and sustainability of the Argan tree and the oils
- Women from the villages are employed on a full time and part time basis
- Enables women to support their children and families
- The women’s co-operatives are encouraged and supported to plant and cultivate the Argan trees
- Help to raise awareness of the Argan tree and it’s issues related to deforestation
- The women are able to share their ancient knowledge and wisdom of the traditional methods of production and cultivation
- Women own shares in the Co-Operatives and share the benefits with the community
- Helps the community to flourish
- Co-Operatives are being challenged by the high demand of the oil from the US and European markets
- Also challenged by the chemical and industrial production companies that are mass-producing the oil. It is hard to compete with this for the large market.
- Began in 2005 and is a very successful co-operative
- Owned by 85 or more women
- Women range from 20-85 years old. A 100+ year old women still owns shares and just stopped working
- Employs 15 younger women to run the sales and store
- Women all own shares in the company and profits
- Traditional methods of production employed and use some light machines for some steps if it is better
- Produces their own cosmetic and culinary products that are used throughout Morocco
- Exports oils to US and Europe
- This is where Moroccan Elixir gets their Argan Oil
- Located on the road from Marrakesh to Essaouirra in a Berber village known as Ait Chriabi
- Frequented by many tourists and travellers heading to the coast from Marrakesh
- The Co-Operative donates money, books and other supplies to 2 local schools
- The women live in the surrounding villages and many come miles to work daily
- They have used the money to help their families, send kids and grandkids to schools, and support other local small businesses