Hygiology Argan oil Australia

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The Argan tree (Latin: Argania spinosa), is an ancient tree species of North Africa and Southern Europe. The size of Argan trees varies, but they can be up to ten metres tall and can have either a single or multiple stemmed trunk. They mature and bear fruit after 50-60 years, and they can live up to 250 years old. These trees, though once the most abundant tree in the ancient forests of North Africa, now only exist in small pockets, the largest of which is in Morocco. Their decline is mainly due to past deforestation - the wood was used to produce charcoal and lumber - and the result has been the desertification of much of Northern Africa. In the past century alone, the forest has diminished by a full third. This, in addition to the laborious extraction process, is the reason Argan oil is so highly valued.

The process of Argan oil production, like any agricultural endeavor, is a season-long one. Argan tree nuts appear in the spring, after the trees have flowered. The nuts are at first green. After they have turned yellow, they dry in the late summer and fall off the trees. The nuts are then hand-gathered by the Berber women and hand cracked open, and then the fruit of the nut is removed and left out to dry.

The production of Argan oil is a truly demanding process. In order to have enough nuts to produce one litre of oil, a Berber woman is required to spend 12 hours cracking the casings open since the casing are extremely hard and resistant to breakage.

The Berber tribeswomen of Morocco are responsible for the harvesting and production of Argan oil and have founded cooperatives 100% owned by women for this purpose. These cooperatives focus on improving the working conditions of rural women and allowing them to generate additional income while implementing sustainable management of Argan tree areas. The money provides health care and education to the local women, and supports the whole community. An ecosystem reforestation project for the preservation of the Argan tree has also been established to ensure the oil will flow for many years to come. According to the Department of Water and Forests, Argan oil production provides income for 3 million people in the southern part of Morocco.