I had the extreme pleasure of visiting a Fair Trade argan producer in the tiny village of Tazghilite in the Anti-Atlas Mountains, two hours from Taroudant. Instead of working in the traditional cooperative model, the women of the village are paid a fair wage for the harvesting and cracking of the argan nuts by an individual who runs the company, a lovely Frenchman named Albans who relocated to Tarzhgilite four years ago. With the oversight of Albans and his small staff, the women are able to make a living working in their homes, and the cooperative progresses smoothly exporting the highest quality cosmetic and culinary oil. In addition to providing the women with a living wage, Albans has developed numerous programs to assist the villagers, including providing water for the village, the development of a women weavers’ cooperative as an additional resource for income, and the planting of olive trees for the women’s use.
I was enthusiastically welcomed during my stay in their village, presented with a rug they had woven and invited to join them in a traditional Berber celebration in the evening.