Mogador: Tradition and modernity
A philosophy with ecological foundations
Involvement: The argan tree once grew as far as Ghana. Today, as a result of desertification, it mainly covers an area of 820,000 hectares in southwest Morocco. It is presumed that the tree once grew on large areas in North Africa and Southern Europe. In 1998, UNESCO listed the Moroccan argan grove as a biosphere reserve.
Goats and dromedaries pose a genuine risk to the argan tree, as they love its leaves and fruits. As a last resort, argan trees may die, so that the fruits can no longer be used for the production of high quality oil.
Mogador promotes the use of argan fruits that still contain their pulp and which are hand-cracked. This way, we assure that the argan seeds pressed do not come from argan nuts which have been digested and fermented by goats. While the high quality argan seeds are used in oil production, both the pulp and press cake are fed to the animals.
These high quality argan seeds are expensive to buy. Our company accepts the higher price as on the one hand, this enables us to ensure the superior quality of the argan oil, while on the other hand the Berber learn to keep their goats away from the trees.
As they need firewood, some Berber women are forced to fell argan trees. Thus, regeneration and renewal of tree stocks are sadly stopped due to the increase in population and the constant demand for firewood. Consequences for the balance of the argan area are dramatic and desertification increases: The argan forest looses up to 300 hectares every year.
Preservation: We abstain from using firewood when roasting argan seeds. Instead, our company applies modern methods for this purpose, such as solar power. This way, we contribute to environment protection in the argan grove.
Mohamed Hassani, founder and CEO of Mogador, is an active member of the Mohamed VI foundation for the research and preservation of the argan tree. One of the foundationís activities includes the use of solar cookers among the local population. The project was initiated in cooperation with the Association Essaouira Mogador and the CDG association. Solar cookers are intended to prevent deforestation of argan trees, as each replaces between 5 and 10 kg of wood per day. Another project supported by the foundation is the planting of argan trees on an area of 300 hectares in the region between Essaouira and Safi.