For promotion of medicinal plants
Ibn Al Baytar Association (NGO)
Ibn Al Baytar is an association created in 1999 according to Dahir (Moroccan royal decree) No. 1-58-376 of the Joumade I, 1378 (November 15, 1958). This association is a non-governmental organization.
Ibn Al Baytar consists of 30 members and a board of directors composed of 5 persons (president, vice-president, secretary general, and treasurer). These people are working as volunteers.
The organization of Ibn Al Baytar lists the following objectives:
Promotion and protection of medicinal plants in Morocco
Income producing activities based on these medicinal plants
Improvement of the status of women in rural areas
The President of Ibn Al Baytar is Professor Charrouf Zoubida.
Mrs. Charrouf, now a professor of the Science Faculty, Mohammed V University at Agdal, started basic study in the 1980s and obtained a state PhD for her work concerning the utilization of argan trees.
She has been strongly interested in the protection of Morocco’s indigenous argan trees, which produce the precious oil used by the Berber people for food and cosmetic purposes for thousands of years. In the belief that profitable use of argan tree products and community engagement would make possible the sustainable development of argan tree forests, she launched the Targanine Project.
Mrs. Charrouf, first as a researcher from Rabat University, worked with other partners toward the establishment of cooperatives for the production and marketing of argan oil using improved techniques in this region already in 1996. When Ibn Al Baytar Association was founded in 1999, it took over these development activities.
Activities so far
Establishment of oil extraction cooperatives
Three cooperatives were established by Mrs. Charrouf and the Science Faculty of Labat University (Amal de Tamanar Cooperative in 1996, Tidzi Cooperative in 1997, and Mesti Cooperative in 1997). Two of these cooperatives were established in cooperation with other partners (Tidzi and Mesti). Ibn Al Baytar Association opened 2 more cooperatives in 2002 (Tiout and Aït Baha Cooperatives).
In 2003, 4 cooperatives united to form Groupement d’Intérêt Economique, the GIE Targanine.
Thirty crushing cooperatives were established in 2004 as organizations operating upstream in the industry.
Several educational programs were implemented for cooperative members, including those related to literacy education, extraction techniques, oil quality, seed (kernel) traceability, and cooperative management.
These activities have been supported by many partners.
Sales promotion activities for products based on argan oil
The sales promotion activities for argan oil are mainly targeted at overseas markets. The most notable activities in the last 3 years include the following:
2000: Production of sales promotion leaflets; opening of the Internet website (funded by International Development Research Centre).
2001: Winning the Slow Food Award; Argan Oil Conference in Montreal, Canada (funded by Canadian Embassy in Morocco); development of new label and logo designs; incorporation in touring courses (cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism); participation in various exhibitions inside and outside the country.
2002: Development of logo designs for various argan oil-based products; formal inauguration of Tiout Cooperative in the presence of Albert II, Prince of Monaco; TV airing of several documentaries; slow food sales promotion activities at the exhibition in Turin; many conferences inside and outside the country.
2003: Sales promotion visits to multiple cities in Japan and Europe.
Starting from 2000, literacy education was added to the educational programs for female cooperative members.
Establishment of Groupement d’Intérêt Economique, the GIE Targanine
Ibn Al Baytar has united 4 coopratives (Amal de Tamanar, Ajddigue de Tidzi, Targan’t de Aït Baha, and Taitmatine de Tiout) into a Groupement d’Intérêt Economique (GIE). The purpose of this GIE bearing the name “Targanine” is the sales promotion and sales of the products of oil extraction cooperatives in domestic and international market. In addition, this GIE performs in-line product quality control, education, and the research on new products (funded by the Principality of Monaco and Agropolis International).
Establishment of 30 crushing cooperatives (funded by the Flemish Government)
In the upstream part of the argan oil industry, Ibn Al Baytar is currently providing literacy education to more than 2,500 women in 60 crushing cooperatives. This project was commenced on February 13, 2004 as an 8-month literacy education program in cooperation with CNDA (Center for National Development and Literacy Education). This project covers 4 provinces of the Kingdom of Morocco: Agadir, Essaouira, Taroudant, and Tiznit. The objectives of these cooperatives are:
To enable more women to receive the financial benefit from the increase in argan oil sales;
To stabilize raw material procurement and ensure the supply of select raw materials without the involvement of intermediary brokers; and
To organize the upstream sector in preparation for the labeling of argan oil (controlled designation of origin).