How much Argan Oil is produced annually in the world?
The Argan Oil market is very small. There is close to 1.2-1.5 million kilos produced yearly and we produce almost 400,000 kilos of that.
Where does the Argan Tree Grow?
The Moroccan argan tree is grown exclusively in south-western Morocco.
How does Argan Oil production help the environment?
Argan trees are a natural barrier against the advance of the desert, which prevents soil erosion and protects water resources. The tree is so beneficial to the environment that Morocco’s argan forest was declared a Biosphere Reserve by Unesco in 1998. Still, the forest had been threatened with deforestation, as the locals chopped down the trees for building materials and firewood. However this has diminished in recent years as locals became involved in the production of argan oil and for some their many source of income. Getting the locals involved and paying them fairly has been key to sustainability and stopping them from cutting down the Unesco-protected trees.
How is Argan Oil produced?
During the hottest season (June-August) in Morocco, harvesting takes place by gathering the ripe Argan fruits. The fruit is gathered from the ground only not shaking the tree to force the fruits down.
Fruits not allowed to ripen on the tree and to naturally fall to the ground is prone to molding and rotting. The best argan oil must be taken from the kernels that were picked with the fruit in tact absolutely no exposure to the goats or animals. The acidity in the oil rises with the contamination of animal Bacteria. 1 liter of contaminated Oil can affect and change a 1 ton lot of argan oil.
The fruit is left to dry for several weeks and then pulp is removed. Due to their unusual shape, size and hard pit, they must be cracked manually. Berber women crack the nut open with stones and 2-3 kernels are recovered. The kernels are ground by a stainless steel semi-mechanical extraction and cold pressed. Our extraction process does not require water addition, yields 5-10% more oil than manual extraction and the quality of the oil remains intact since no chemicals are used.
After pressing, we decant unfiltered argan oil into vessels. The decanted argan oil is left to rest about two weeks so that solids suspended in the argan oil settle to the bottom, creating a natural sediment. The clearer argan oil is further filtered, depending on the required clarity and purity.
How are you different from other argan oil producers?
We are the first to a build pressing unit in the middle of the forest. Most usually have to transport their kernels and press their oil in the big cities. We pick, dry, extract and press all within the same vicinity to provide the best and highest grade of oil.
We also developed recently a new deodorization technic that preserves all the vitamins of our oils.
What measures have been taken to prevent deforestation and guarantee sustainability?
Aside from being protected by UNESCO, In the year 2002 the Network of Associations of the Argan Biosphere Reserve, RARBA was founded with the aim of ensuring sustainable development. RARBA has been involved with several major projects, including the Moroccan national anti-desertification program. The project involved local populations and helped with improvements to basic infrastructure, management of natural resources, revenue-generating activities (including argan oil production), capacity reinforcement, and others. In addition in 2009, regeneration of the argan tree, a huge operation to plant more argan plants was launched. The production of the argan oil is a major contributing factor to the preservation the tree.
Is there any harmful byproduct of this process?
No, the byproduct of pressing is a thick argan paste, which is sold locally for cosmetic products. Nothing is wasted, as the outer pulp provides food for village animals, and the shells are burned for fuel.
Does your Argan and Prickly Pear Seed Oils have any certifications?
We sure do! We are NOP and USDA certified by the CCPB, Our products are also not tested on animals.
How do you make the best quality oil
The best oil must be taken from the kernels that were picked with the fruit in tact and no exposure to the goats or animals. The acidity in the oil rises with the contamination of animal bacteria as well and the smell and the texture changes. 1 liter of contaminated oil can effect and change a 1 ton lot of argan oil.
No Chemicals, solvents or water are used. The oil is only cold pressed at a lowest temperature.
What size is the Prickly Pear Seed Oil Industry?
For prickly Pear Seed Oil the production is even less. WIth only 5,000 kg of Prickly Pear Seed Oil produced yearly in Morocco, we quickly became leaders in the industry by producing about 1,000 Kg per year. We are definitely the leaders of the Argan Oil and Prickly Pear Seed Oil production.
How does Arganizm help women?
Previously, women in small family businesses of two or three people would collect the argan fruit and extract its oil. Their husbands or brothers would then sell the oil in local markets or exchange it for sugar and other goods. In recent years, however, women’s co-operatives have been created to meet the surge in demand.
These co-operatives provide the women with an income, as well as a social experience and improved status. Access to education, healthcare, and the opportunity to earn money are some of the benefits of the Argan Industry in the communities. With more financial independence, the women are able to choose how to spend their earnings, changing the status of women in the family. Women regain the capacity to decide, to manage their income and to invest in the future by sending their children to school. Others recognise a shift in attitudes towards women in general in this Arabic country due to their newfound independence. Arganizm employs about 4,000 women and work with about 50 co-ops in the area.
How do you give back to the community?
We contribute about 70% of operational costs for a local kids shelter provides service and care for about 183 girls and 250 boys. We contribute about 15% of operational costs for the only co-ed primary school in imintlit, Morocco.