While tourism is Morocco’s main deal, agriculture ranks in there, too, although at only 14% of its total economy. But to look at the country as I have these past days, it seems like agriculture accounts for way more than just 14%. This place is vast! I have been surprised to see it all: olives and consequently olive oil, argan products, wheat, salt and oranges. And I’m probably leaving something out. Oh, fishing! It’s beautiful and often reminds me of midwestern USA.
There is a beautiful little tree called Argan. It looks somewhat like an olive tree only the branches are lower to the ground and it’s a little bit denser in general. It is beautiful and grows in a hilly terrain not unlike what I imagine French grapes to grow in. ;
Goats love the Argan nut. So much so that they actually climb the tree to get to them. Goats can climb anything and they can eat anything so it shouldn’t’ve surprised me (nor caused me to squeal in excitement) when I saw a tree full of goats on our way to Essaouria (eh-swear-a).
So the nut of this tree looks like a pecan or some other nut. I mean, it is a nut, but it looks familiar. All argan sold today is produced by a women’s cooperative that shares the profits among the local women of the Berber tribe. The cooperative has established an ecosystem reforestation project so that the supply of argan oil will not run out and the income that is currently supporting the women will not diminish. The money is providing health care and education to the local women, and supporting the entire community as a whole. Many of the women are displaced due to divorce or illness or widowhood so this provides a way for them to support themselves and their children. It was interesting to watch the process from nut to oil or from nut to cosmetic.
Yes, of course I bought some. I bought the under-eye cream, the daytime face cream, some Argan oil spray for the body, and some Argan oil for cooking. Barbara/Richard and I clearly bought enough to make them happy because they gave us each a bar of Argan soap and Richard and Mokhtar even got some!