Argan girls


 

Although the tree itself is threatened by various forms of degradation, the cultural practices are still maintained by the communities. The know-how that argan women use in the exploitation of the tree but above all in the methods for oil extraction, retain the same actions and the same symbolic importance in rural areas. The women continue to teach their daughters to handle the tools designed for argan oil extraction. By ensuring the transmission of these skills to younger generations in the same way as they learnt from their elders, the "argan women" guarantee the safeguarding and the viability of the Argan Culture.

The observance of the ancestral custom of the agdal, still in force in some regions of the Arganeraie Biosphere Reserve, has largely contributed to the protection of the tree and its fruit against overgrazing, wood chopping and the premature harvesting of fruits over the centuries. The agdal consists of protecting argan tree areas during a certain time of the year (notably at the time of ripening of the fruit between June and August). This customary measure is nowadays one of the essential factors in the safeguarding of the tree and the associated cultural practices.

The initiative taken by the women to organise themselves into cooperatives, associations and economic interest groups is part of recent efforts made by the communities to perpetuate the practice of the argan culture and to adapt to the conditions of modern society.