A Legacy for the Future: The Moroccan Argan Oil Industry

“I’ve found that some of my best projects have been started, not on the basis of rigorous prior analysis and planning but simply from an impulse that says, “Here is a chance to do something good.” “

Muhammad Yunus, Creating a World Without Poverty
The industry of the Moroccan Argan oil production bears a striking resemblance to the humble beginning of Muhammad Yunus’s Grameen Bank, a microcredit organization that brought financial services to the poor who wanted to start little businesses of their own. As with Yunus’s vision of providing a stable source of income for the impoverished, especially the women of Bangladesh, the production of Moroccan Argan oil is also seen to involve the ultimate goal of providing livelihood and eventual empowerment to the women of the traditionally male-dominated society of Morocco. It has given the women employment that assures them of continuous income for it involves a form of labor which at the moment had been proven to be only possible with the arduous work of human hands.

Growing Independence for Women
The primary and most apparent benefit of the increasing popularity of Moroccan Argan oil as a product is the increasing demand for the labor that would be necessary to supplement the growth in the production, which would inevitably follow as supply, must adequately meet the growing demand for the oil as a commodity. This is the most basic of market conditions; an increase in demand must be met with an increase in supply. There would be an increase in the number of women given employment and this would naturally lead to the development of women’s independence and give them a greater sense of self-esteem as they find themselves equipped with the means to earn their own incomes. They now have the option to spend on acquiring a higher education, on getting better nourishment for their families, or on saving to invest for the future. Any of these options would help them in fighting poverty, one simple step at a time.

Carrying on with tradition
With more women necessary for greater production, the uniquely Moroccan tradition of the Argan oil extraction is now certain to be passed on to more members of the next generation. As it has been proven that it is a stable source of income, it is highly likely that mothers would encourage their daughters to continue the practice. And even if one is not introduced to it as part of the family business, the increasing popularity of the Agran oil as a valuable exported product would still attract more to join the ranks of those employed for its production and the attention given this tradition would only increase with time as the Argan oil production becomes more integral in the livelihood of the women.

Environmental Implications
Closely following the increasing role of the oil production in the lives of the people of Morocco, there would be the recognition that the Argan trees are a significant and valuable resource which would have to be conserved in order for it to continue its role in various people’s subsistence. Just like any other natural resources, the Argan trees could be damaged with excessive harvesting. An example is that there would be an increase in the people trying to get the Argan nuts, which contain the oil-rich kernels. They would then use the traditional way of harvesting the nuts, which is to bring spry goats to eat fruits from the trees, and then collecting the nuts from the goat’s dung. With more people bringing more goats, unintentional damage could be done to the branches of the trees which would in turn lead to less fruits being borne by the trees. And thus actions to increase awareness of these implications must be taken.

Pre-emptive actions to keep the Argan tree population at a healthy number is also necessary as protecting the trees from getting cut down will lead an improvement in the local environment because the trees have always been of great importance to the local ecosystem. Being an endemic species in the harsh Moroccan deserts, these trees’ structure is uniquely adapted to have the best chance of survival in the dry, arid region. The deep roots of the trees help prevent desert encroachment while also ensuring landscape stability as they prevent soil erosion. The tree’s canopy provides shade for other agricultural produce. The leaves and fruits are naturally food sources of various animals. Lastly, the trees help in replenishing the aquifers, the underground layer of permeable rock from which groundwater is usually extracted from. For such a dry region like Morocco, this is of utmost importance.

A Triumph and Nature’s gift
Acknowledging the potential of the Moroccan Argan oil industry has been the first step of many in traversing the road to alleviating poverty in the region. The conspicuous success of the oil production which is being frequently carried out by women’s cooperatives encourages other agricultural producers to take a closer look into the cooperative model, where people voluntarily cooperate for a mutual social, economic or cultural benefit. It has also brought to the surface the urgency of taking care of our limited resources and their impact to the environment. The fact that the Moroccan women have proven their competence in handling the production of Argan oil had also shed some light to their growing role in their local communities as independent earners and decision-makers. With the Moroccan Argan oil industry flourishing, we are once again reminded of Nature’s generosity as it gives us the chance to learn to harness its resources to secure our future and we are impressed by the ingenuity unearthed in our age-old traditions as the seeds for progress are finally brought to life with the simple idea that we must leave behind something good for the future generations. The future must be something worth looking forward to.

Experience Plymouth’s Folk Roots and Musical Legacy at the Plymouth Folk Festival

Bringing together the best of home-grown talent in music, dance and entertainment, the Plymouth Folk Festival is perhaps one of Devon’s best kept secrets. Having dominated the city’s event calendar for nearly a decade, this stripped down musical event explores the best of Plymouth’s up and coming musical and artistic offerings while featuring performances by some of the city’s most popular finds in a celebration of music and talent.

Featuring renowned and newcomer folk acts from across the great county of Devon, the festival aims to shed light on the city’s ever expanding local music scene. The festival typically takes place in the month of June and has seen the likes of Miranda Sykes grace its stage although it is not just limited to musical showcases. The 2006 event for example included an indoor event that featured poets, storytellers and acoustic musicians dubbed A Stone Soup Evening of Storytelling, Music, and Poetry. Other highlights included performances in the city centre at Place De Brest with the attendance of Barbershop singers, Plymouth Morris and Plymouth Maids, Indie bands such as Sangreal and Irish folk punk band Black Friday. The Plymouth Musical Theatre Company also performed in a line up that displayed Plymouth’s multicultural heritage with the attendance of Gujarati Folk Dancers and Thai dancers.

The event on New George Street saw the participation of clog dancers and other local favourites while the Armada Way instalment included the pulsating Samba group Crooked Tempo. Not limited to guitar grabbing crooners, the festival also features musicians with varying instrumental prowess which includes those with a proficiency in the fiddle, cello and of course piano.

Interactive in essence, the festival also includes audience participation activities such as the Tea Dances that were held in the ’06 festival in Lower Guildhall. Open-mike events also encourage travellers and locals to engage in creative exercises of their own while the street performers that dot the landscape during the festival add charm and colour to the historic city rich in culture.

Having a Custom House Built on Beautiful Land Is a Great Way to Begin a Legacy

Having a beautiful home can have a lot to do with the craftsmanship. If you would like a new home that has the craftsmanship of homes built hundreds of years ago, then you will want to have a custom house built by a respected building company. With the years, new tools have been developed that should make houses stand the test of time. Make sure that you find a company that has craftsmen who believe in homes that can be passed down to future generations.

If the home that you live in now is one that your kids would never want to move into when you are gone, then you might want to consider building a custom house. Not every child ends up moving into their parent’s home, but it is nice when it can happen. Keeping homes in the family is a nice thing. Somehow doing so preserves a part of your family that could otherwise somehow cease to exist.

A custom house means you can have that giant kitchen island with the built in grill and sink. You can have the breakfast nook with the windows overlooking the beautiful landscape that you have always dreamed of having behind your home.

Some things to consider before choosing a custom house building company include the following: experience, attitude, and results. Each of these plays an integral part in the type of builder that you would want to build your home.

Experience is important for fairly self-explanatory reasons. It is important that a builder build has built a few homes before they begin on yours. Everyone on the team should really have at least two or three years of full-time home-building experience.

Attitude is also important as you consider building companies. Some builders might not be willing to accept that they made a mistake. It is not wise for the home-owners to hang around constantly nagging the builders about little problems. If the homeowner does see an issue that needs to be addressed however, the main contractor should be willing to accept the possibility that he or she or one of the other workers made a mistake and they all should be willing to fix it.

Results are essential when it comes to building a custom house. Without going to actual homes built by the crew, it might be difficult to see results. If the crew has not always been in the general area or if they often build elsewhere, you may have to get the names of clients and ask if you could see a picture of their home. While talking to them, you might ask if they would recommend the crew. Individuals who have hired a crew in the past should be able to tell you something about the group’s experience, attitude, and their results so that you will have a beautiful home to pass on.