By Abderrahim Ajarif
HAF Project Coordinator
The argan tree holds a special place in Moroccan culture and heritage. Morocco is the largest producer of argan products worldwide. The High Atlas Foundation (HAF) with community and worldwide partners celebrate the International Day of Argania on May 10 by increasing awareness of the tree, its surroundings, and the crucial role it plays in Moroccan society and history.
The argan tree has been the focus of development aimed at boosting its adaptable, durable, and environmentally beneficial qualities. It stands as a memorial for outstanding adaptation to climate change. It is a multipurpose, agricultural, native, forest plant of great significance to the Moroccan population because of its economic and social value. The fruit of the argan tree produces a highly valuable oil utilized in food, cosmetics, and medicine.
The argan tree used to be common in all of North Africa, but today it only grows in southwestern Morocco. It is also present in the Safi province, where it is very well suited to the region’s harsh environment and climate. As a result, HAF works to increase awareness of how local people can preserve the environment while still earning an income with argan trees. This will contribute to guaranteeing future equality of opportunity for women and men and ensuring the sustainability of communities in the region for future generations.
This year with FRÉ Skincare, forty hectares of argan trees have been planted in response to increasing demand. The people of the Khat Azakane Commune in the Safi province, as well as the environment, greatly benefit from the decrease in pressure on the wild argan trees thanks to the newly planted trees. Together we are very grateful to plant more trees.
The main activities of this project include cultivating argan trees, providing technical and practical training with community members on how to regenerate argan trees, as well as educating people on the trees and the pruning of existing argan trees in the area. People of Khat Azakane Commune heavily depend on the argan tree for their everyday necessities.
HAF, FRÉ, and other key partners assist local community members in generating revenue while ensuring a sustainable level of protection for the argan tree ecosystem. By collaborating with women on essential training, including with the USAID Farmer-to-Farmer Program, they advance the growth of their cooperatives, including through actions that can help them improve their marketing. Additionally, together we assist cooperatives with taking the steps to achieve long-term sustainability.
To ensure the preservation of the argan tree requires an increased collaborative effort among all interested parties, in Morocco and around the world. Community management, capacities, and control ensure the long-term survival of the plant.
The International Day of Argania is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate this tree, which is a vital part of our past and future. Every year on May 10, let’s celebrate by bringing attention to its meaning for humanity.