Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS)

FAO welcomes the International UN International Day of Argania

04 March 2021

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS) Programme welcomes the UN General Assembly's resolution adopting May 10th as the International Day of Argania. The UN resolution, submitted by Morocco, was co-sponsored by 113 member states of the United Nations and adopted by consensus.

In December 2018, FAO recognized the Argan-based agro-sylvo-pastoral system within the area of Ait Souab - Ait Mansour in Morocco as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System, a unique region where argan trees have been cultivated for centuries.

The agro-forestry-pastoral system in Ait Souab-Ait Mansour has outstanding landscapes that combine agricultural biodiversity, resilient ecosystems and a valuable cultural heritage.

The Amazigh indigenous communities and communities of Arab origin have developed a specific culture and identity, sharing their traditional knowledge and skills. Although farmers earn most of their income from the cultivation of argan trees, the integrated system also provides them with other food and material such as staple crops, cereals, firewood, meat and wool.

The draft resolution presented by Morocco stressed how  an annual celebration on 10 May would pay due attention to an ancestral source of agricultural heritage, as recognized by FAO GIAHS Programme. 

“Argan oil production in Morocco and other countries, operated primarily by women, is worthy of this attention, including for its role in realizing the Sustainable Development Goals. By marking the day, the United Nations will honour the role of women, farmers and entrepreneurs”, read the document.  

The resolution is also aligned with the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) that has classified all know-how concerning the argan tree as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity in 2014.

The resolution recognizes the multiple properties of argan oil, especially in traditional and complementary medicine and in culinary and cosmetic industries. Its also stressed how cooperatives and other community-supported agriculture organizations working in the argan field are instrumental in promoting local job opportunities. These organizations can play an important role in contributing to food security, eradicating poverty and contributing to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

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