International Argan Day: Celebrating a Drought-Resistant Species

Amid a severe drought, Morocco’s agricultural sector celebrates the resilient Argan tree, which marked its fourth International Day on May 10. The UN Resolution of 2021 highlights the Argan tree’s significant role in achieving the 17 goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development across economic, social, and environmental dimensions. Argan oil is renowned for its uses in medicine, culinary arts, and cosmetics. The celebration also underscores the Argan tree’s contribution to empowering rural women through cooperatives and other agricultural organizations.

The Argan industry in Morocco generates 1.2 billion dirhams annually, creating 45,000 direct jobs for women and supporting 25,000 sales outlets nationwide. This unique species, native to Morocco, contributes significantly to social, economic, and tourism development, while also aiding in biodiversity preservation and climate change mitigation. The industry’s resilience to drought is notable, and various national and international efforts are being made to sustain and enhance the Argan value chain. Strategies such as the “Green Morocco Plan” and “Generation Green” focus on reforesting 164,000 hectares and planting 10,000 hectares of agricultural Argan trees.

Despite increasing international demand, the industry faces challenges such as productivity declines due to climate change and intensive cultivation. Efforts are underway to ensure sustainable practices and balance global demand with local cultural, social, and economic benefits. Currently, Argan trees cover over 800,000 hectares in Morocco, with plans to expand agricultural Argan plantations to 50,000 hectares by 2030. The Argan tree remains vital to local communities, providing resources for goats, bees, and human use, embodying the “tree of life” for the people of Southern Morocco.

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