The body supervised by the Moroccan Ministery of Agriculture and Maritime Fishing known by the name of ‘The National Agency for Development of Oasis Zones and Argan’ (ANDZOA) in partnership with the supervising ministry, the High Commission for Water and Forests and the National Institute Agricultural research, held the first international conference on argan from 15 to 17 December 2011 in Agadir. The theme was: «Achievements and prospects of scientific research on the Argan tree. »
The conference had two objectives. First, the sharing of scientific and technical knowledge between specialists of national and international scientific community, forest managers, economic stakeholders and users; and secondly, the contribution to the consolidation of the action plan for the development of argan industry on sound scientific bases.
It is a well- established fact that everywhere and in all sectors and ecosystems, the scientific and technical research is the foundation of sustainable development, especially as the argan tree is a symbol that embodies a rich history, a deeply rooted culture, an ancient civilization and a special ecology defying drought and desertification. The complexity that exists within the argan forest areas makes the issue of conservation and development everyone’s business. Thus , special attention of all stakeholders (government, researchers , local communities, civil society, economic partners , funds providers … ) is essential in the development process of these systems, to ensure sustainability of their operation , improve their organization and meet the needs and expectations of the local population that depends to a great extent on this natural resource in its everyday life.
So, choosing to devote an international congress to scientific research for sustainable development of the argan chain is fully justified and highly appreciated. Moreover, the authorities mean the congress to be established as an annual appointment for consultation and coordination between all actors in the sector of the argan tree.
The presentations and discussions focused not only on the knowledge of the argan tree resource and its ecosystem, but also on the restraints and challenges of the rehabilitation of the argan tree and the development of its products.
In his opening address, Mr. Aziz Akhannouch, Minister of Agriculture and Maritime Fishing, stressed the importance of scientific research for sustainable development of the sector of the argan tree, a development which should go through a participatory approach, around a comprehensive and integrated program. The development of this program, its implementation and monitoring of its implementation has been entrusted to the ANDZOA, set up in November 2009.
The establishment of a National Institute of the argan tree is proposed as part of the agency; which should operate as a business intelligence center of the argan tree at the service of all stakeholders in the sector.
Two agreements were signed on the sidelines of the conference, covering respectively, the development of a program that allows people in concerned spaces to have access to basic services (education of children, support and training) and the organization and development of the argan industry. The first agreement was signed between the Department of Agriculture, the High Commission for Water and Forests, the ANDZOA, the Moroccan Interprofessional Federation of argan and the Federation of Associations of beneficiary users of the argan tree. The second was signed between ANDZOA and the Moroccan Interprofessional Federation of argan.