The learning route on Producers´ Organisations has finished with the first case, which was ANCA, National Association of Women´s Cooperatives of Argan oil. Argan oil comes from the nuts of a special Moroccan tree, and it has many cosmetic and consumption functions.
The ruteros of the learning route visited the cooperative of Tamaynoute and had meetings with members of the ANCA bureau and of two intermediary structures, which are unions and an Economic Interest Groups (GIEs). This probably sounds complicated, and indeed, it took quite some questions and answers before we had it all clear!
Women work in cooperatives at village level, cracking of argan nuts to collect the almonds. After grinding the almonds by hand, some cooperatives with machines do the pressing of the oil and the packing themselves, others send the almonds to their union to take care of it. The GIE and the union represent cooperatives in commerce and economic transactions with foreign clients. ANCA is the umbrella organization with a merely social function of representing women’s cooperatives in (inter)national meetings and fairs, organizing trainings, literacy courses and managing a credit fund.
´Women gain a lot when they work in groups,´ was the clear statement by Ahmed Abdalghani from Sudan. He was impressed by the organization of women and the impact of it on their production and on themselves. Certainly a lesson to take home.