The argan-oil trade is a large and growing industry with fierce competition for customers. With big cosmetic brands integrating argan oil into their products, the demand is ever-increasing outside of the local Morocco market. As it grows in global popularity with social media “influencers” and those seeking organic products, women’s cooperatives have risen to meet the need. This is a boon for women, providing not only an income but also independence and increased social status.
The appeal of the Moroccan production of argan oil is that it remains largely traditional. Unlike other corporations that rely on machine manufacturing, most of the argan oil produced in Morocco is done by hand. Customers appreciate a high-quality product that they know is organic and for which they feel their consumer dollars are helping deserving women to improve their lives and the lives of their families, especially their children.
To remain competitive, though, and to be able to tap into a larger market, there are certain obstacles that must be overcome. The women who run these co-ops need to learn strategies for marketing to societies about which they may have little to no knowledge, such as the U.S. They need to be taught about business practices and regulations in the global world outside of traditional Moroccan culture. In addition, to compete on a larger scale, they need to participate in e-commerce through digital platforms that bring their product to a wider audience, expanding to the cosmetics, pharmaceutical, and food sectors. This would increase their earnings significantly and help these cooperatives to remain solvent and to grow. Finally, the Moroccan government needs to support research and development programs to protect the industry from exploitation by other countries and fraudulent sellers touting the trendy “Moroccan oil” label.