If we consider the amazing history as well as the multilevel importance of the Argan oil (and the Argan tree in general) and its deep rooted impact on the lives of people who came in touch with it, it would be just fair to shed some light on its future and the different threats this precious and endangered resource is facing. But NOT the mainstream ones!
Some Of The Main Problems Facing Argan Oil And Its Tree
Almost everybody who wrote a study or a review of any kind about the Argan tree is talking about how alarmingly fast one of Morocco´s most important forest species: the Argan forests were disappearing in the last 50 years.
They blame the heavy exploitation only to the natives with their firewood needs and their goats (who have been here for centuries using the tree without any noteworthy abuse of the tree by the way!)
This is to me like blaming people of generating CO2 while breathing and at the same time turning a blind eye to these millions of factories pumping their life-threatening deluge of CO2 out in the atmosphere.
Of course this affected the stock of the diminishing Argan area in the last decades and it is no brainer to recognize that changing the awareness of the locals towards the Argan tree will have great benefits in the long run.
Yet the impact of the local use is way less harmful than other factors these so called “researchers” seem to simply neglect.
And no, I am not ranting – I´m the type to speak my mind and I´m not really the person to play the political game. To address a problem, one must name it!
Here are some small examples:
The number of traditional Argan oil producers is gradually reduced as they are being bereft of all consideration.
The majority of the modern and profit-driven Argan oil entrepreneurs (locals as well as foreigners), looking for the quick buck, are taking over.
The mechanical Argan-oil-producing companies see no shame advertising their products to be hand-made by indigenous women although the latter have nothing to do either with their production nor with their products.
How does that sound?
One can´t pretend to help the local economy (yes, it´s one of their “shiny” arguments!) by creating jobs for a dozen people while destroying the livelihood and lives of hundreds living from the same product.
But this is not (yet!) a big problem compared to other hidden ones which present a real nasty threat not only to the Argan tree and Argan oil as one of the few natural health-wonders which survived many challenges for thousands, probably even millions of years, but also to the families living in the Argan areas as well as the environment.
There´s a new wave started a while ago of some entrepreneurs who aimed to transplant the Argan tree into other areas of the Mediterranean region.
And there is nothing wrong with that! On the contrary, positive change is all good and that would be perfect if you bear in mind the deep positive environmental impacts the Argan tree has in the first place, let alone its positive contribution to the human healthy lifestyle.
That is exactly the moral ideal I am “preaching” here: The greatest good to the greatest number!
But when some company comes out to promote their “new” lab-tweaked Argan tree à la Monsanto, which yields x times more than the natural one does, and claims their tree´s oil has the same quality as the original Moroccan Argan oil, one cannot help but think about the wretchedness and misery the genetically modified food has already brought upon the human lives and which turned these into ongoing live lab “science” experiments all over the world, beautifully packed under similar and other promises!
Is it really hard to understand that the reason the natural Argan tree yields a certain quantity of fruits per year has its biological and environmental reasons?
How hard of a concept is that for those people to grasp!?
Some of these people went even the extra mile in their boldness to pretend the Argan oil is a “new oil of the modern world”.
These guys have twigged the old wisdom that says: “How to eat an elephant? Break things down, eat that elephant one bite at a time” but they use it to simply rip people off! First they tell you they want to help you (found the target!), then they offer you solutions (give a bait) and finally they sack you!
It´s not my intention to start a debate here about whether the practices of this kind of companies are ethical or unethical. If their methods and products are as safe as they advocate, why are they against labeling them with their names!?
But what does all that look like in reality?
You can read part II to find out.