Morocco is the kingdom of the Argan tree with the jewels lining the plants across the country. The oil, often called “liquid gold” is used for cooking and in beauty products to boost hair and skin.
It is also known for its anti-aging properties and its ability to prevent cardiovascular diseases is scientifically recognised.
The leaves and undergrowth also provide a vital reserve for all herds even in periods of drought.
Now, Morrocco and the United Nations are celebrating the first international argan tree day on May 10.
It will crown Morocco’s promotion of the argan tree as part of its cultural heritage and an ancestral source of sustainable development.
The UN said: “The argan tree is typically a multipurpose tree that supports income generation, increases resilience and improves climate adaptation, playing a very important role in achieving the three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental – at the local level.”
The country’s exports of argan oil have more than doubled in the past five years, to more than 700 tons. The oil is exported to companies such as L’oreal and Unilever.
It is one of the rarest oils in the world and it’s said since the 13th century the Berber people, mainly women, have been making it.
But the method of making argan oil has changed very little and it can take 16 hours to make.
To make it, the argan nuts are collected, dried and shelled, to obtain the kernels, which are then crushed and ground in a mill to release the oil.
“This unique region, where argan trees have been cultivated for centuries combines agricultural biodiversity, resilient ecosystems and valuable cultural heritage,” The UN said.
“For that reason, it has gotten recognition and protection from various UN entities.”