20 years ago, Argan oil was still unknown to most people. Nowadays, it is known worldwide for its many virtues and benefits for the skin, hair, and health. The only issue is, it is very expensive compared to the rest of the vegetable oils. But, why is that? What makes Argan oil expensive?
Argan trees only grow in certain regions of Morocco
Also called Argania Spinosa, Argan trees only grow in certain regions in the south-west of Morocco, between Essaouira and Agadir. Argan Trees only cover about 800,000-hectares. Which makes it a very unique product of Morocco, and explains its rarity.
It takes 7 Argan trees to get 1 liter of argan oil
In fact, an Argan tree produces only gives about 8 kilos of Argan fruits a year.
Once dried, these said 8 kilos of Argan fruits becomes 5 kilos, including 2.5 kilos of pulp and 2.5 kilos of walnuts.
Once manually processed by Moroccan women, these 2.5 kilos of walnuts will then become 2.25 kilos of shells and only 250gr of Argan Kernels. Once pressed, these Argan kernels will barely provide 0.15 liter of argan oil. Which means that an Argan tree gives about 0.15 liter of argan oil a year.
It takes 7 Argan trees in full production for an average of 1 liter of argan oil.
Argan oil is extracted only using traditional and artisanal methods
Besides, Argan oil production is typical to women's cooperatives in Morocco. To produce Argan oil, they only use labor-intensive and traditionally ancient techniques.
Argan oil is extracted using traditional and artisanal methods to this day because it is the only proven way for the kernels to keep their quality.
So, unlike other oils, the rarety, low production of the Argan trees, and the number of efforts and work needed to get a single liter of argan oil explain its very high price compared to other vegetable oils.