Argan oil is a natural resource which can be found in the country of Morocco. With the continuous rise of its popularity, more and more countries are learning about this special plant and what benefits it can have to the people who use it. Many countries are also very interested in making argan an economic booster, much like tobacco and other crops that are especially imported for their industrial uses. The Moroccan community is not selfish to keep argan oil for themselves, but there is a definite advantage if they are recognized as the original and only exporter of this crop.
Making argan as a Geographical Indication is big boost to the Moroccan economy. This would mean that even if there would be other countries that would make or create an argan tree farm, it would be known to the world that the quality of the product directly produced from Morocco would be entirely different from all other argan oil products in the world. It is like a product’s copyright saying, “I am the original.” Nothing else will lift up the reputation of argan oil other than having its mark stamped on the map.
However, there are still a few more considerations that ORIGIN has to think about before giving it to Argan. What makes argan so special? Can it take care of its resources? How can it pledge the stability of its production with all of the world’s demand? Can it create an equal opportunity for the Berbers and the foreign organizations invested in argan oil? What will be the environmental and societal, even economic, effects of making argan a GI?
As for starters, the question would come to quantity. Let us say that the quality is assured saying that the extraction of the argan oil has been a tradition of Berbers for a few centuries now. However, with all of the world’s demand and a very constrained or limited source of the argan oil, how can it sustain supply to its consumers? We cannot create a deficit that will only favor one part of the world.
On the other hand, with the help of GI, argan will get the help of the European Union to protect its resources. It will also provide opportunities for Berber women to alleviate their status. Since the tradition has been for women to extract the oil from the nuts, cooperatives in Morocco only have women as its members. Also, their type of cooperative is not like the traditional business structure. Every woman is considered to have a shared income with the whole cooperative. This will also give them an advantage as they will be introduced to many advanced technologies that will be provided for the preservation of the standards of the quality of the argan oil.
In the many disputes about making argan a geographical indication, most are siding this idea. With the protection from EU and the World Trade to argan trees plus the assurance to these Berber women, there are more benefits in making it a GI than not.