Photos of Argan Trees and Climbing Goats. Morocco

Argan Tree with Goats climbing it, Morocco

One of the stranger sights you may see in Morocco as you drive towards Essouira through the Argan tree plantations, are goats high up in the Argan trees eating the ripe Argan nut fruit. It really is an extraordinary sight and on closer inspection you can find a herd of goats who have climbed to the top of the Argan tree enjoying their favorite Argan nuts. This Argan photo gallery is dedicated to the climbing goats of Morocco and the rarest oil in the world. Paul Williams.


Goats feeding on Argan nuts in an Argon tree. Near Essouira,, Morocco (Paul E Williams)



Photos of Argan Trees, Argan Nuts and Argan Oil Production – Morocco

Photos of Argan nut plantations in Morocco with goats climbing the trees to eat the nuts and pictures of Argan oil production in the Cooperative Marjana, Ounara, Essouira, Morocco.

The Argan tree (Argania spinosa L.) is native to Morocco and is well adapted to the harsh conditions of South West Morocco. The Argan tree is though under threat and has been protected by UNESCO World Heritage making Argan oil one of the rarest oils in the world. Since ancient times the Berbers of Morocco have fed their goats on the yellow green flesh of the Argan fruit. The pits or seeds were then processed to extract the Argan oil.

The process is very labour intensive and requires the Argan pits to be shattered by splitting them on a stone pestle to remove the nut kernel after which they are ground in a stone hand mill. The resulting slurry is then mixed with water which causes it to coagulate. The heavy paste that is produced is then pressed by hand into a cake and the Argan oil is squeezed out. Once as much oil is extracted the pressed cake can be fed to the animals as it is still rich in proteins. The oil is rich in fatty acids and is used as a cooking oil, but it is also highly prized as an additive to cosmetics as it has good skin healing properties and is good from the hair. The oil also has medicinal uses against rheumatism and is used for the healing of burns.

Even though there is some Argan oil produced by mechanical presses today the best Argan oil is still produced by hand. This has led to the formation of cooperatives where women meet to produce the oil which is then marketed by the Coop. In South West Morocco the Argan tree is at the heart of an ancient agricultural system and the Argan tree provides food for the animals, edible and cometic oil but crucially it protects the land from desertification. The Argan tree has deep roots that holds the fragile sandy soil together and its canopy provides shade in this parched part of Morocco. This unique cultural system led UNESCO to add the Argan tree to its protection list.

See More of Our Photos of Morocco and the Argan Nuts

Fresh Argan nuts with outer skins and Argan nuts in their shells. (Paul E Williams) Women pressing Argan oil by hand in Morocco (Paul E Williams) Goat climbing an Argan Tree in Morocco (Paul E Williams) Argan nuts in a cooperative Morocco (Paul Randall Williams)


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