A new tree developed in Israel has the potential to significantly improve yields of argan oil. The oil, which is purported to have many health and cosmetic benefits, is currently one of the most expensive oils in the world due to low yields and labour-intensive harvesting techniques.

Bottles of argan oil for cosmetic use, on the right an argan tree with fruit

“It takes about six traditional argan trees to make one litre of oil,” said Chaim Oren of OREN a.s.Marketing. “One olive tree, by comparison, yields 25 to 30 litres of oil every year.” That's part of the reason why one litre of argan oil sells for between 700 and 1,000 NIS. But Chaim Oren has developed a new variety of tree that can yield 1.5 litres of oil per tree. Given the demand for the oil due to its properties, that kind of production could be very lucrative.

The argan tree holds the fruit and in the fruit there is the argan nut, which gives the oil. This developed argan tree in Israel is called the "Supertree".
On the right you see the fruit. In Morocco they feed it to the goats and retrieve it from the animal's waste.

“Consuming the oil helps with blood pressure, fat, triglycerides and the immune system,” said Chaim Oren. “It also helps with the appearance of one's skin and can aid with the healing process of burns and cuts.” Those properties make it much sought after by cosmetic companies and those who market health products.

Aside from the better yields, the new tree also matures much faster than traditional trees. That kind of performance is the payoff of 20 years of research and development, and Chaim Oren said it will put them in a good position when they enter the market with their oil.

“We're sharing our knowledge of this tree with our competitors in Morocco, though it can only be propagated in Israel,” said Chaim Oren. “We're joining the market, and our prices will be slightly higher in order to reflect our better techniques.”

For more information: www.arganoil.co.il