Perhaps the noblest thing in that small plant (Saffron) is that it has pulled out the village of Tallouin in southern Morocco from poverty. Saffron or Red gold as locals name it – is the source of livelihood for the people there (population of 6,000 people)
Tallioune, annually produces the equivalent of four tons of 100% organic Moroccan saffron, worth twenty four million dollars. Morocco is the second producer of Saffron in the world after Iran.
Because it is rare, it is sold in grams like gold. Eighty kilograms of flowers produce one gram of saffron. To produce one kilogram of “pure saffron” requires between 120 thousand and 140 thousand flowers.
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Besides, it is used in food. Saffron is used for many of the most intractable diseases such as cancer, strengthen immune system, preventing heart disease and also used in cosmetics.
Farmers wake up early before sunrise, and spend two to three hours picking the closed flowers. This procedure helps to protect the delicate stigmas inside the saffron crocuses.
Without being thoroughly familiar with the manner of the harvest, it can hurt flower and lose its value. It must be uprooted from its roots, so that the gum does not descend, and the flower is damaged. The ladies perform all the rituals in a professional manner, singing “O Saffron, Where Are You Now, Cure for love.”
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Every November, The International Festival of Saffron is held at harvest time
The Festival was created in 2007 immerses us in the scent of saffron, economic locomotive of the region of Talliouine, with saffron tours to farms & cooperatives.
In parallel, a forum of fair trade associations is planning an expo-sale, spice job demonstrations, conferences and round tables.
The festival incorporates nightly concerts from some of Berber music’s biggest names, and massed ahouach (celebratory) dancing to the beat of bendirs (traditional hand drums) and Gnaoua, Music of slaves brought from Sub Sahara
Equally rich and varied, the Off program thrills the entire city, with sports events (marathon, football tournament, hiking), theater workshops and drawings for children, tasting saffron dishes concocted by village, artistic evenings.
The aim of the saffron festival is to promote the Taliouine region (in the province of Taroudant, just over 160 miles south of Marrakech), and to promote the marketing of saffron to improve the living conditions of the inhabitants and rural populations of the Anti-Atlas.
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This gathering attracts thousands of people each year for a moment of exchange and conviviality.
This year is the 12th editions of the festival, and it takes place from November 17th to November 20th