Hard but sweet-smelling slog in Morocco’s Valley of the Roses

SourceGulf Today
SectorIndustrial
CountryGulf

A kilo of essential oils requires between four and five tons of flowers.
 
The heady aroma of the Rosa Damascena, a variety introduced in the days of the caravan trade, perfumes hedges and fields irrigated by two wadis between the mountains and the Sahara desert.
 
 A worker harvests roses in a field by the city of Kelaat Mgouna.
 
Everything revolves around roses: the names of hotels, cosmetics sold in countless stores, necklaces offered by children in the streets.
 
The annual festival in the town of Kelaat Mgouna — with a rose statue at its centre — attracted thousands of visitors before Covid-19.
 
 ‘Lucky to be poor’
 
The 35-year-old happily left her job in a packaging factory to manage the Rosamgoun cooperative, a small distillery set up by two sisters who grow roses.
 
The work is much better paid, 2,500 dirhams ($280) a month, almost the official minimum wage in Morocco, instead of 400...read more...