The United Nations observed 10th May 2022, the second International Day of Argania. This celebration crowns the efforts of the Kingdom of Morocco in promoting the Argan tree as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity and an ancestral source of resilient and sustainable development.
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The day will be celebrated this year under the theme “The Argan tree, symbol of resilience” and will serve to raise international awareness around the tree, its ecosystem, and the important position it holds in Moroccan culture and heritage.
The argan tree
- The argan tree (Argania spinosa) is a native species of the sub-Saharan region of Morocco, in the southwest of the country, which grows in arid and semiarid areas. It’s the defining species of a woodland ecosystem, also known as Arganeraie, which is rich in endemic flora. It is resilient to a harsh environment under water scarcity, risk of erosion and poor soils.
- This ecosystem of extraordinary beauty is not only important in terms of conservation, but also for research and socio-economic development, due to its forestry, agricultural and livestock use.
- The argan tree woodlands provide forest products, fruits and fodder. The leaves and the fruits are edible and highly appreciated, as is the undergrowth, and constitute a vital fodder reserve for all herds, even in periods of drought. The trees are also used as fuelwood for cooking and heating.
- The world-renowned argan oil is extracted from the seeds and has multiple applications, especially in traditional and complementary medicine and in the culinary and cosmetic industries.
History of the day:
- The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated in 1988 the endemic production area as the Arganeraie Biosphere Reserve.
- Also, all know-how concerning the argan tree was inscribed in 2014 on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
- Moreover, in December 2018, FAO recognized the Argan-based agro-sylvo-pastoral system within the area of Ait Souab – Ait Mansour in Morocco as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System.
- And lastly, in 2021, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 10 May the International Day of Argania.