The women of argan

The women of argan, photo essay by Marco Marucci

In a sunny corner of Morocco, between the hills of olive , argan and a few other bushes, there is Imi N’Tlit. The inhabitants are about 8000, all of them Berbers and Muslims, they struggle to survive between pastoralism and agriculture.
The only real wealth of this poor region is the exclusive nature has yielded on Argan plants, whose oil has taken an incredible value on the cosmetics market.
About 3 of 4 litres of oil leave Morocco to reach the shelves of European and American shops.
To escape the strict rules of market exploitation of a so attractive product, many cooperatives were born in Morocco as the one of Imi N’Tlit, called “Tamounte”.
In a long and narrow room twenty women, methodically and constantly, by mean of a stone, hammer 3 or 4 times every nut, they extract the fruit ‐ smaller than a fingernail ‐ and proceed with a new nut. The method is the same since centuries without machinery. In the hall the rhythm is interrupted only occasionally by some chat among women ‐ which is followed by loud laughter.
The strong will of the 32 women who make up the community, allows to contrast every day, cultural restrictions of their country and the adversities of nature. According Berber culture, the woman lives at home. The outside world doesn’t belong to her.
They work by the piece, 40 dirham (about 4 Euros) for each kilogram of fruit produced. They usually get a few more then a kilogram every day. Not a big money, but a big step closer to the empowerment.

_MAR1647Marco Marucci ( was born in 1982 and lived nearly 20 years in Bari – south Italy. Starting from the curiosity about this land and the desire to document it, his love for photography grew up. Research on territory, portraits and reportage…   → more

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