Argania, the main source of the well-loved Argan oil, is a plant endemic in Morocco. Argan oil is known to do wonders to the skin and hair and has been used on its own or as a valued ingredient in cosmetics and beauty products. It also works as a versatile skin medication that soothes irritation and acne, heals skin infections, and induces a faster wound recovery. However, another thing that most people don’t know about is how Argan oil can be a part of the culinary process and is a key ingredient in preparing the best of Moroccan dishes.
A Cooperative for Moroccan Women
Since the product has been gaining all the hype because of its benefits, the market has reached worldwide scale and continues to grow. Over time, Argania has become one of the main sources of livelihood for Moroccan Berberwomen, and a cooperative was established to sustain these women, as well as the business. These products are sold directly from the producer to the consumer as a way to provide a handcrafted commodity of high quality. Ethical management ensures that these women produce the best while being compensated fairly, with 5% of the profit given to the cooperative.
The cooperative was put up to reduce the business risk, increase the production and bargaining powers, and empower these women through a productive company. Aside from being a stable business venture, this system also serves as a growth opportunity for Berber women who have difficulty in finding a source of income due to their religious lifestyle.
Operations and Marketing
The concept behind this business started when a small band of Berber women were found producing argan oil by hand – tearing flesh off the nut, cracking and removing the kernels – then processing them, only yielding them a minimal earning to feed their families. The initiative then started to create a market for such a valuable commodity while ensuring that these women are given importance for their craft.
The cooperative sells their products mainly through an internet sales market, where people from different parts of the world can order and pay via fund transfer or credit. With every purchase, what can be ensured is how these products are carefully made by women who have done this all their lives and how this is a form of support for their hard work.